Christian leaders to visit Holy Land, call for prayers for area’s Christians

.- The leaders of four of Great Britain’s largest Christian Churches will travel together to the Holy Land in solidarity with the Christians living there under tight Israeli security measures.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, primate of the Armenian Church of Great Britain and Reverend David Coffey, Free Churches moderator will make the pilgrimage together, from Dec. 20 to 23.

They are expected to meet local church leaders in Jerusalem Dec. 20, and make their way to Bethlehem the following day, where they will visit the Grotto of the Nativity and hold an ecumenical prayer service. They have also called for prayers throughout Advent for Holy Land Christians.

Cardinal O'Connor has said Bethlehem is "blocked in" by the Israeli security wall and checkpoints, reported the BBC.

Both Dr Williams and Cardinal O'Connor have urged other Christians to visit Bethlehem and warned of a Christian exodus from the town where Jesus was born.
In his Christmas address last year, Cardinal O'Connor declared that the Christ child would be weeping for the town of his birth as it was "steadily strangled". 

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