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Jerusalem Catholic Patriarch offers to be exchanged for Gaza hostages

Jerusalem Catholic Patriarch offers to be exchanged for Gaza hostages

POPE Francis' representative in the Holy Land said that he was willing to exchange himself for Israeli children taken hostage by Hamas and held in Gaza. Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, made his comment in response to a question during a video conference with journalists in Italy. "I am ready for an exchange, anything if this can lead to freedom, to bring the children home. No problem. There is total willingness on my part," he said. "The first thing to do is to try to win the release of the hostages, otherwise there will be no way of…
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A drone’s eye view of the Holy Land as Christians look to Easter

A drone’s eye view of the Holy Land as Christians look to Easter

STEPHEN FARRELL  SEEN from the air, the fragility of humanity as it must have been in the Holy Land in centuries past is plain to see - ancient monasteries clinging to precipices, tiny fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee, deserts gnawing at the edges of towns. For the Christian faithful, the Biblical journey and legacy of Jesus are written in stonework and monuments across the landscape, straddling modern political faultlines. But modern pandemics, like ancient plagues, are no respecters of political and belief systems. For a year the Christian sites of the Holy Land, like the sacred places of…
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Seek post-COVID renewal, Holy Land archbishop urges on Easter Sunday

Seek post-COVID renewal, Holy Land archbishop urges on Easter Sunday

DAN WILLIAMS  WITH Jerusalem emerging from COVID-19 curbs and the faithful flocking there again, Easter Sunday brought a message of renewal from the traditional site of Jesus' death and resurrection. Deserted a year ago after the pandemic hit, the Church of the Holy Sephulchre was attended by dozens of clergymen and worshippers, a turnout enabled by an Israeli vaccination campaign - the fastest in the world - that has driven down infections. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, voiced hope in his homily for a post-coronavirus world of greater substance and spirituality. "(We are) tempted to run backward,…
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