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Pope ends Holy Land visit with message of peace for region


Israel

Pope ends Holy Land visit with message of peace for region

Pope Francis has wound up his three-day trip to the Holy Land. On his last day, he prayed at the Western Wall, the only remains of the biblical Second Temple and left a note inside an envelope in one of the cracks between the stones, as is customary.

He, a rabbi and an Islamic leader, both friends from his native Argentina, embraced in a symbol of interfaith dialogue that Francis is convinced can bring peace to the region.

Francis visited the gold-topped Dome of the Rock, the Jerusalem shrine from where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed climbed to heaven.

At Yad Vashem holocaust memorial, the Pope displayed his customary humility.

As he was introduced to survivors of Nazi concentration camps and told of their struggle and near starvation,
he bent slowly to kiss the hand of each elderly person.

The Pope spoke alongside Israeli President Shimon Peres.

“We need to firmly reject all that opposes the pursuit of peace and respectful coexistence between Jews, Christians and Muslims, We reject the violence and the terrorism,” said the pontiff.

His final engagement was celebrating mass on the Cenacle, a vaulted hall just beyond the walls of the Old City. It’s revered by Christians who believe it is where Jesus shared his final meal with his disciples before being crucified.

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