The Pope has named two Palestinian nuns as saints during a Sunday ceremony in St Peter’s Square.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was among more than 2,000 pilgrims from the territories who attended.
The canonisation comes just four days after the Vatican formalised its de facto recognition of the State of Palestine.
It highlighted Pope Francis’ long running drive to help the embattled Christian community in the Middle East
Sister Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas was the founder of the Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem, and Maryam Baouardy founded a Carmelite convent in Bethlehem.
Both entered religious orders as teenagers in the 19th century and are seen as an example for Muslims, Christians and Jews, according to Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal
The pair were joined by two other newly sanctified nuns – the French Jeanne-Emilie de Villeneuve and Italian Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception Brando.
Speaking of Sister Baouardy the Pope said:
“Her docility to the Spirit also made her a means of encounter and fellowship with the Muslim world.”
On Saturday Pope Francis met with President Abbas and called him an “angel of peace” as he urged a renewed effort to find peace with Israel.
An Israeli foreign ministry official has called the recent recognition a “disappointment”.