2010-06-02 14:53:45


Knights on a Quest for Peace: The Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Cardinal John Patrick Foley will be accompanying Pope Benedict XVI on his journey to Cyprus this Friday and will be participating in the upcoming Synod of Bishops for the Churches in the Middle East.

He spoke to us about the great challenge of supporting the Churches in the Middle East, the cradle of the Universal Church:

“Cyprus is part of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, it was a place visited by St Paul and its Christian roots go back to the first century. So we are looking for first of all, for the document that is going to be the basis for our work in preparation for the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. Then we are looking forward to an encounter with the Greek Orthodox in particular, who form the majority religion on Cyprus and we are looking forward to an encouragement of the small but important Catholic community on Cyprus, which consists not only of members of the Latin Patriarchate but also of Maronites, and of Armenians. And also of course we are looking forward to the Pope’s messages in which is hope d we will see progress ecumenically on the part of the Catholic church in the Middle East and believers in the world, for a deeper knowledge and respect for the Church in the Middle East”.

Q. Do you think the Universal Church sometimes underestimates the importance of the Christian Communities in the Holy Land?

“Well I had the privilege of being with the Holy Father on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and we had about 50 Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre there at the time, just as we will have about 70 Knights and Ladies in Cyprus. But as you say the Holy Father said more than ‘Hang in there’ to the Christians there, he stressed the importance of the presence of the Christian Communities and especially the Catholics in the Holy Land and Middle East and I personally had the opportunity to exchange a few words with King Abdullah of Jordon, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel - who by the way did his high school studies outside Philadelphia my home town –President Abbas of the Palestinian Territories and all three stressed the importance of Catholic education in their three areas, because they all said that Catholic schools, that are open to all, are a very important factor in creating mutual understanding, love and reconciliation. They all said the presence of Catholic education in their lands is an important factor for future peace.

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