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Vatican official on solidarity visit to Jerusalem

Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud arrived in Jerusalem yesterday for a five day visit designed to show solidarity with the Christians in the Holy Land.

The cardinal, who is the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, quickly traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, where he was welcomed by the Franciscans who administer the Basilica of the Nativity.

Cardinal Moussa Daoud - a Syrian-rite Catholic who was the Patriarch of Antioch before his appointment to his current Vatican post - also met with Palestinian civil authorities and with representatives of other Christian groups in the region, including Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic clerics.

Yesterday afternoon, the cardinal returned to Jerusalem for a solemn visit to the Church of the Holy Speulchre. There, too, he was greeted by the Franciscans who are the official custodians of the shrine, and accompanied by Greek and Armenian Church representatives.

Later in the week the cardinal is due to meet with the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and with other leaders of the Eastern Catholic communities in the Holy Land. One Church leader in Jerusalem told AsiaNews that the visit by a ranking Vatican official was "a great pleasure to us" at a time when the Christian community in the Holy Land is facing serious trials, including a high rate of emigration.

Vatican official on "solidarity" visit to Jerusalem (Catholic World News 14/4/04)

Cardinal Moussa Daoud visit of "solidarity" to the Holy Land ( 14/4/04)

15 Apr 2004