FRI-SAT-SUN
January 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 10
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

SINAI, DAMASCUS, ATHENS, IRAQ: POPE PREPARES JUBILEE PILGRIMAGE

Stages of Papal Trip to Places of Revelation

    VATICAN CITY, JAN 13 (ZENIT).- The papal visit to the Holy Land from March 20-26 only reflects a part of the goal John Paul II set for himself last June 29. In his letter of that date, he said that he wished to visit all the places of revelation, from Abraham to St. Paul.

    The letter provides for very important stages. The one most closely followed by the press over the last few months has been the visit to Ur of the Chaldeans, birthplace of Abraham, considered Father of the faith by the three great monotheistic religions. However, the Pope's trip to Iraq to fulfill this leg of the journey is on indefinite hold, after a press statement last December, in which Baghdad authorities stated that they cannot guarantee the necessary security because of the U.N. prohibition on flights.

    Another place the Pope hopes to visit is Sinai, the area identified by the Bible where Moses received the Ten Commandments during the exodus from Egypt to Canaan, which today is known as Jebel Musa. On January 12 the Turin newspaper "La Stampa," revealed that at present dates are being considered for this trip, which could take place at the end of February. In undertaking this pilgrimage, John Paul II would make a stop in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, but, for the time being, the Vatican has not confirmed this stage of the pilgrimage.

    Vatican diplomats are also doing everything possible to enable the Holy Father to visit Damascus and Athens -- the two places that in a sense sum up the life of the Apostle to the Gentiles.

    The Pontiff's visit to the Syrian capital was facilitated by an official invitation from Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius IV Hazim. The dialogue currently taking place between Syria and Israel could smooth the obstacles that have prevailed in among Syrian politicians.

    Finally, the Greek situation is even more complicated. The Orthodox Church in that country has been hostile to the Pope's plan to visit Athens, though political authorities are open to the visit. Nonetheless Athens' Archbishop Christodoulos Paraskevaidis recently asked in a press statement why the Pope's desire could not be fulfilled. The Archbishop said: "His pilgrimage to the Areopagus of Pynka does not depend on us, but on his will. No one can close the borders and much less our Church to him." ZE00011308

          

January 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 10
NEWS & VIEWS

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