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  • » 04/04/2005, 00.00


    Assad will attend Pope's funeral

    Jihad Issa

    People wave photos of the Pope, whilst national media remembers his moral stature and historic 2001 visit.

    Damascus (AsiaNews) – An official Syrian government statement released today said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will attend Pope John Paul II's funeral, which is scheduled for Thursday. He will head an official delegation whose members have not yet been named.

    Sorrow for the loss of John Paul II is palpable everywhere: in Catholic churches crowded with the faithful saying prayers for the soul of the Pontiff, but also in the streets plastered with photos of the Pope, especially the one that shows John Paul II planting a tree in the Golan and another in which he is kissing the Qu'ran in his visit to a mosque in Damascus in 2001.

    Like the streets, the Pontiff is all over the front-pages of newspapers: Teschrine, a Damascus daily, carried a photo on its front-page of John Paul II in the Golan valley whilst an editorial focused on the Pontiff's strong religious charisma and his constant efforts in favour of world peace; Al-Sawrat led today's edition with the Pope's historic 2001 visit and its most significant moment, his visit to al-Qunaytirah, a city in the Golan destroyed in 1967 War with Israel.

    Syrian media have also generally emphasised the role played by the Holy See in the Arab world and its efforts in favour of inter-faith dialogue and bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity.

    Pope John Paul II's condemnations of the two Iraq wars and his repeated appeals for peace were given wide coverage.

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    See also

    First Pope to visit mosque in 2001

    03/04/2005 LEBANON - VATICAN
    The Pope: Lebanon mourns the loss of a steadfast defender of the land of the cedars
    The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Sfeir, calls John Paul II a unique figure who shall remain in the history of the world. As sign of respect local TV and radio stations are playing only classical music

    13/04/2005 VATICAN
    Three million mourners in Rome for Pope's funeral
    Pilgrims continue to arrive to visit John Paul II's final resting place.

    08/04/2005 vatican
    Card. Ratzinger: The love of Christ, the dominant force of our beloved Holy Father
    Here follows the text of the homily that card. Ratzinger gave at the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

    08/04/2005 VATICAN
    A million people attend John Paul II's funeral

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