- May 12, 2021
The patriarchs and heads of Christian churches of Jerusalem expressed deep concern over the growing violence in Jerusalem, which increased with 331 Palestinians reportedly wounded at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during clashes with Israeli police May 10.
Police on Sunday gave the go-ahead to the annual Jerusalem Day parade, a flag-waving display of Israeli claims to all of the contested city, despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a flashpoint holy site.
The grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem really hopes that the improving COVID-19 situation will finally allow him to make his first official pilgrimage to the Holy Land as head of the benevolent order.
As his Muslim neighbors and fellow Jericho residents make their way home for the iftar, which breaks the daily fast throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Franciscan Father Mario Hadchiti hands out small bags of dates and water to passersby in front of the Franciscan Good Shepherd Church.
Jaffa, the historic port at the core of the greater Tel Aviv metropolis, is home to around 20,000 Arab residents, remnants of the Palestinian population that lived there before Israel’s establishment in 1948. The district has undergone extensive gentrification in recent decades with government encouragement.
Christians in the Holy Land are marking Good Friday this year amid signs the coronavirus crisis is winding down, with religious sites open to limited numbers of faithful but none of the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the Holy Week leading up to Easter.
The palm tree fronds in the convent garden of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary rustle loudly in the brisk wind of an early spring dust storm, but, stepping into the chapel of the Church of the Beatitudes, there is silence.
During this year of COVID-19 lockdowns and lack of international pilgrimages, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land has had to adjust its funding priorities and trim its budgeting, and difficult though that has been, Father Ramzi Sidawi fears the worst is still to come.