Pope Francis ended his first day in Israel with a visit to Jerusalem where he met the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew l.
It was yet one more symbolic moment in the pontiff’s historic tour of the Holy Land.
Hundreds of Palestinian Christians had gathered in East Jerusalem hoping to get a glimpse of the Pope.
Earlier in Bethlehem security in the city had been fairly discreet, but in Jerusalem the police presence was more obvious and a welcoming ceremony turned into a protest.
“We came here today to welcome our Pope. He’s coming and visiting our city, our old city, our Jerusalem and it’s not theirs, it’s ours and we came here as you see praying. We are praying, welcoming the Pope. They are preventing us from welcoming the Pope.”
If the crowds were kept away it wasn’t at the Pope’s request who has made getting as close to the people as possible an integral part of his visits wherever he goes.
Euronews’ Luis Carballo was in Jerusalem:
“The Christians here in Jerusalem have welcomed Pope Francis but this is as close as they are able to get to the Holy Father because the army and police have sealed all the entrances into the old town and in particular to the Holy Sepulchre.”