Continuing in the tradition of his father, the much beloved late-King Hussein, Jordan’s King Abdullah II extended his hand of friendship and tolerance to the Christians of the Hashemite Kingdom by attending a Christmas celebration with Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic leaders and extending good wishes to the broader Arab and international Christian communities.
Let us, in turn, pray for the royal family, all the people of Jordan, and particularly the Church in Jordan that the Lord Jesus Christ may bless them and grant them peace, stability, prosperity, and deep spiritual growth and joy.
“His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, on Monday attended a celebration in Madaba Governorate held by the Christian community in Jordan on the occasion of Christmas and the New Year,” reported The Jordan Times. “King Abdullah extended his good wishes to the Christian community during a lunch banquet he held in Madaba, some 30km southwest of Amman, according to a Royal Court statement. During the ceremony, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, All Palestine and Jordan Theophilos III commended His Majesty’s efforts to bring about peace in the region.”
“The patriarchate of Jerusalem, which enjoys your noble protection, along with the Church of Holy Sepulchre, Al Aqsa Mosque and the other Islamic and Christian holy sites, holds you in high esteem as you work hard under severely difficult conditions to make peace in the Middle East,” he told the King. The patriarch added that the King has “been following in the footsteps of [his] great father, His Majesty the late King Hussein and [his] Hashemite predecessors, the grandchildren of the noble Prophet”.
“Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin archbishop of Jerusalem, referred to the anticipated ‘historical’ visit of Pope Francis to the Kingdom next year, noting that around 50 years ago, King Hussein received Pope John Paul VI, and ‘we will be celebrating the anniversary of that visit in the coming few days,” the Times noted. “Twal also highlighted the King’s efforts to protect the existence of Christians in the region.”
“We, in cooperation with the Catholic Church in the entire world, share with you your concerns and efforts to protect the Christian presence in the Middle East and its Arab Christian identity,” he said….
“Madaba Mayor Mustafa Maaiaah noted that Jordan has always been a homeland with a ‘message of tolerance, openness and the belief that we are God’s creations and children,'” the Times added. “Also addressing the King, Shadia Haddad, representative of the women in Madaba, said: “We will never forget, Your Majesty, that it was you who made this occasion a national holiday for all to celebrate.. You have not stopped at that. You insist that we meet as one family to exchange Christmas greetings and assert our determination to hold tightly to our genuine brotherhood as Muslims and Christians in this dear homeland.”