Father Pierre Grech, the general secretary of the Latin Bishops’ Conference in the Arab Region, said this week that a group of bishops from the European and U.S. Bishops' conferences will visit the Holy Land January 12-16 in order to support the peace process in the region, where Christians are a minority.
According to the SIR news agency, Father Grech said, “This year the meeting will conclude in Rome for the ad limina visit of the ordinaries of the Holy Land January 14-19. The delegation of European and American bishops will meet with the bishops of the Holy Land on January 12, and afterwards there will be a meeting with Archbishop Antonio Franco, the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, in order to discuss the accords between Israel and the Holy See.”
On January 13, the delegation will visit Bethlehem, Nablus, Nablus, Rafidia, Jenin and Zababdeh, and on January 14 there could be a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayed in Ramallah, and with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem.
“This date arrives after a 2007 in which pilgrimages began again and after Annapolis, where the issue of peace between Palestinians and Israelis was discussed,” Father Grech said.
Currently the Christian population in the Holy Land only numbers 170,000, that is, 1.5% of the total population. 99% of Christians are of Palestinian-Arabic origin and most are Greek Orthodox, with small communities of Coptic, Syrian and Armenian Catholics.