It’s a historic meeting of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders offering what is reported to be unified prayer, at the Vatican. Pope Francis is hoping to be a peace broker. Lord knows we could use some peace in that region.
The minutely orchestrated event on a small lawn in the Vatican gardens – a space the Vatican has called “neutral” because it is bereft of religious symbols – will be the presidents’ first public meeting in more than a year.
It will also mark the first time that Jewish, Christian and Islamic prayers will be held in the tiny city state that is the headquarters of the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church.
Both the Palestinian and Israeli delegations will include religious leaders of various faiths. The delegations will pray separately in each others’ presence in the chronological order of the founding of the three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
At the end of the ceremony, held in Italian, English, Hebrew and Arabic and expected to last about two hours, the pope, Peres and Abbas will make individual addresses, which the Vatican has called “invocations” for peace.
Peres’ office said he will “call upon leaders of all faiths to work together to ensure that religion and the name of the Lord will not be used to justify bloodshed and terror”.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica published on Sunday, Abbas said: “Nothing should stop the search for solutions so that each of our peoples can live in a sovereign state.”
The three will plant an olive tree that the program calls “an enduring symbol of the mutual desire for peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples”.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of this widely publicized event. Any predictions?
Hat tip to Weasel Zippers for covering this event.
Photo credit Giampaolo Macorig