“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Jordanian Government Launches Series of Projects to Promote Christian Tourism

 Jordan is not always thought of when it comes to pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Yet the Hashemite Kingdom, with its varied landscapes, whether desert, mountainous or verdant, is home to many historical sites of great importance to Christians. Indeed, it was there that Christ received his baptism, that St. John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded on the orders of King Herod Antipas, and where, centuries before the birth of Jesus, Moses saw the Promised Land from Mount Nebo before dying.

These priceless locales of biblical episodes have been, together with a number of other important Christian sites, the object of particular attention from the country’s authorities in recent years. These Jordanian officials are seeking to enhance the Christian heritage treasures through a series of ambitious renovation and development projects for which they are providing the lion’s share of funding, hoping to promote quality Christian tourism and thereby boost their nation’s economy — of which tourism represents about 30% and which has been has significantly affected by the recent COVID health crisis.

Located in the Middle East, bordering Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, this Arabic-speaking land once trodden by Christ saw the birth of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

Christians in Jordan have made few headlines in the West in recent years because, unlike their brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria and Palestine, they enjoy a stable political situation and a relatively favorable environment, despite the challenges posed by their very small minority position in this country, which is approximately 96% Muslim.

Vital Presence

A 2016 report produced by Jordanian Bishop Maroun Lahlam for the association L’Oeuvre d’Orient estimated that Christians in Jordan, mostly from the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic Churches, now represent some 3% of the population. This number is considerably lower than at the beginning of the last century, when they represented more than 20% of the population, with the sharp decline being due to demographic reasons as well as to the higher emigration rate of Christians to the West for economic reasons. This percentage has increased slightly in recent years, however, with the immigration of Christians from neighboring countries fleeing war and persecution.

The Christian community, though a minority, still holds a position of intellectual and economic significance in the country. According to Lahlam, the Christian community alone accounts for 30% of the country’s economy, 9% of the members of Parliament and 6% of the Senate.

2023-05-25T08:26:01+00:00 May 25th, 2023|Categories: News|