We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine. The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date the information was released by the source.

Friday, November 28, 2014

St Louis : what example for the Holy Land ?

HOLY LAND – the Diocese of Versailles in France observed in 2014 the 8th centenary of the baptism of King Louis IX, known also as St Louis since his canonization back in 1297. St Louis is undoubtedly one of the few Kings of France to have ventured to travel to the Holy Land, at the head of a Crusade for the purpose of protecting Christian access to the Holy Places. The question of practice of Faith in security in the Middle East is still hot burning. What message can we therefore pick from his adventure ?

Despite the goodwill of those who launched the Crusades, anxious to defend Christians access to the Holy Places, these campaigns have seriously hurt and hampered, across the ages, the relationship between West and East, between Christians and Moslems. Absence of dialogue, creation of ghettos and mutual mistrust were the direct results of the Crusades. However, time has allowed for the two sides to meet and to learn to live together.

Mgr Shomali, present at the closing ceremony of St Louis Year on Sunday 23 November in Versailles, stated in his speech that this episode of History “does not harm the image of Louis IX who was truly a man of conscience, honest, sympathizing with poor people”. The King of France led the 7th and 8th Crusades. He arrived in Acre, but never saw Jerusalem. “It is thanks to him that the thorn crown is in Paris. Thanks to him the coastal towns of Palestine were reinforced to prevent the crumbling of what remained of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. And thanks to him that we are here today”, has further stated the Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem before the assembly.

 New way to protect the Holy Places

Since the last Crusade taking arms is out of question. Other means were used to protect Christian of the Holy Land, namely through the revival of certain Orders of Chivalry, including those of Malta and of the Holy Sepulchre, to bring support, both material and spiritual, to the communities who live in the vicinity of Christianity’s Holy Places. Many members of both Orders were present at the Cathedral of Versailles.

However, the Christian World of the Middle East is now facing a new Islamic offensive which threatens the life of faithful and of places they worship in every day since 2000 years. They need relief, without repeating the image of the past.

As a foremost support, the Bishop of Versailles, Mgr Aumonier, co-signed with other bishops, including the Apostolic Nuncio in France and Mgr Shomali, a message. The signatories evoke their proximity to Christians living in persecution while placing full trust in their prayers so that in the West Christians may “clearly confirm their own faith, both in their words and in their actions”. The message was concluded by these words: “May we able to receive, as we ought to, Christians of the East obliged to fly into exile and to implement everything possible in order for you to live peacefully over your Land”.

The example of St Louis, holy for all the Church, should serve as an impulse for every Christian to come to Jerusalem and to the Holy Land. Not only for the sake of pilgrimage, but also to bear witness of a Christian presence which requires a protection of the Holy Places, facing those who seem willing to scrap them out. When that cannot be done through weapons, all means used to ensure this protection are justified”.

Pierre Loup de Raucourt

Source: http://en.lpj.org/2014/11/27/st-louis-what-example-for-the-holy-land/

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