On Wednesday, December 14, His Majesty King Abdullah stressed that safeguarding and protecting Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a religious and historical duty.
At a meeting with heads of Churches in Jerusalem and Jordan, Christian figures, and Jerusalem Awqaf representatives on the occasion of Christmas, King Abdullah expressed Jordan’s condemnation of the violations against worshippers in Jerusalem and other holy sites in the Palestinian territories.
His Majesty reaffirmed ongoing cooperation between Jordan and the Palestinians in countering violations against Islamic and Christian holy sites and properties, noting the Kingdom’s keenness to highlight the concerns of Jerusalemites and difficulties facing them to the international community.
At the meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein Ibn Abdullah II and His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Ibn Muhammad, His Majesty’s chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs and personal envoy, the King extended Christmas greetings to Christians in Jordan, Palestine, and around the world.
Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Pierbattista addressed the King saying: “We join our voice with Your Majesty’s voice, in defence of truth and justice, as an advocate for preserving the status quo, and we strive with Your Majesty to work for peace and to reach a just solution that guarantees protection for people and holy places in Jerusalem.”
“Jordan has the respect of Arab countries and the international community due to the King’s wisdom,” the Archbishop Pierbattista added, commending His Majesty’s efforts to maintain security, create opportunities for youth, and launch political, social and economic initiatives.
Patriarch Pizzaballa pointed to the importance of the King’s latest visit to the Vatican and his meeting with Pope Francis, adding that the visit highlighted bilateral relations and Jordan’s role in promoting religious dialogue and humanitarian values.
Patriarch Theophilos III
For his part, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and Head of Jerusalem Council of Churches Patriarch Theophilos III expressed appreciation of His Majesty’s steadfast position towards promoting peace and harmony, defending Islamic and Christian holy sites, and supporting the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
“As the heads of the churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land, we want to assure you once again of our full support for you in your essential role as the Custodian of the Christian and Islamic holy places in the Holy Land,” Patriarch Theophilos III said.
The Patriarch lauded His Majesty’s role in promoting interfaith harmony and coexistence, which represent hope and security to all peoples in the region, noting that Jordan will always remain a beacon of stability, mutual respect, and tolerance.
Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway
On the other hand, Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, a member of the Jerusalem Awqaf Council and a Professor of Ghazali Chair, commended His Majesty’s position and his efforts to enhance coexistence, safeguard Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as protect the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ in Jordan.
He added that Muslims are proud of the Christian support they and Al Aqsa Mosque receive whenever threats are at hand, pledging that Muslims will protect the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the same way they protect Al Aqsa Mosque and reaffirming steadfast support for the Hashemite Custodianship.
Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan, and Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalaileh attended the meeting.