The President of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians will ask Israel, it hands over to Catholics, overseeing of the ‘Upper Room’, the place in which Christ celebrated the Last Supper, and instituted the Eucharist and the Priestly Order.
The EFE agency informed yesterday, it had access to a document, saying that Cardinal Walter Kasper arrived in Jerusalem “with a pre-agreement” stipulating that the Holy See would preserve the historical character of the place, and that it would remain open to pilgrims and tourists and that Israel would provide security.
According to the agency, the Vatican representative “asked for the use of the Upper Room for liturgical offices”, and “that custody will be handed over to the Franciscan Order.”
The Upper Room chapel, was used during John Paul II’s visit in 2000. There, he presided over a historical private Mass, the first one in centuries in this specific place.
The history of the building where the Upper Room is located, reflects the complex history of the region. During the Middle-Ages, the Franciscans set up there first convent in the Holy Land, but they were expulsed by the Ottomans in the year 1551. The invaders built a mosque there, arguing that King David’s tomb was located in the same area.
The building was then taken over by the Israeli Ministry of Culture in 1967, and is now being used as a hebrew school and a synagogue.