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JERUSALEM, November 9 (Itar-Tass) – Applause and welcoming shouts could be heard at the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem Friday, as hundreds of people representing the different religious denominations gathered to welcome the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I who is making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
One could see there the hierarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, the Franciscans, members of the Armenian and Coptic Churches, and many others.
Disciples of Judaism, who were hurrying to round up the routine daily business before the beginning of Shabbat, also showed friendly curiosity.
The Russian Patriarch arrived at the main shrine of all the Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. His walk along the streets of the Old City was accompanied by the strikes of wands of the Church’s guards of honor.
Kirill I was greeted warmly by Theophilos III, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.
The Russian Patriarch said in his speech he had come to pray at the holy sites – and especially in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – “for peace across the whole world, for the prosperity of Churches and for the salvation of all and everyone.”
“Every Christian certainly has a wish to get to the Holy Land at least once, to walk along Via Dolorosa, and to venerate the stone, on to which Jesus’s body was placed,” he said with an apparent sign of excitement.
Kirill I underlined a special feature of his pilgrimage, saying he would pray in the name of the entire Russian Orthodox Church.
He recalled that Moscow Patriarchate’s canonical territory embraces, apart from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and a number of other countries.
“The situation in the Holy Land is far from quiet or stable today and we’ll especially ask in our prayers for the descent of peace and concord among people onto the land where Christ’s Great Victory came into being,” Kirill I said.
The six-day itinerary of his visit of the Holy Land includes dozens of places related to the life of Jesus Christ and Christian saints.