The Pope has celebrated Mass for thousands of worshippers at an open-air service in Amman, on the last full day of his visit to Jordan. 50,000 people, including believers from Syria and Iraq, gathered at the stadium in the Jordanian capital. The Pope saluted what he called the ‘singular courage’ of Christians lin the Holy Land, a region scarred by years of religious conflict. He urged them to preserve and strengthen their faith.
Later, Benedict will visit Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan, where tradition says Jesus was baptised by John. There is some doubt about the story – there is a rival site on the Israeli side of the Jordan River – but archaeological remains were discovered at Bethany in 1996, including early Roman and Byzantine churches and baptismal pools, and scholars continue to argue the merits of their favoured site.
Pope celebrates Mass in Amman