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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 07/28/2011
ISRAEL - JORDAN
Israel will reopen (Israeli) site of the baptism of Jesus
Qasr al-Yahud, was closed for several decades. Now mine clearance, and restoration are completed. A particularly dear place to the Orthodox. But on the eastern shore there is al-Maghtas, a site visited by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI and is more likely to be the true place of the baptism of Christ.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The site on the west bank of the Jordan, where a tradition says that Jesus was baptized has reopened to the public after 44 years of closure. Qasr al-Yahud (the castle of the Jews) had been closed and abandoned since the 1967 war. Following this the Israeli army has mined the area, and built an electric fence to the west of the site, to prevent infiltration from Jordan. There were several monasteries in that area, but the monks abandoned them. In the 1980s, it was possible to reach the river bank through a narrow passage, and baptisms took place again, the army allowed small groups to go to site, by prior arrangement. In practice, the visitors came only during Christian holidays.

Qasr al-Yahud is particularly important for Eastern Churches. At the feast of the Epiphany the place is crowded with pilgrims dressed in white who participate in the baptismal rite. Now thanks to the de-mining, and restoration, the site will be open to all, on a regular basis, and this course will have a beneficial effect on the local economy. The site belongs to the Ministry for Tourism, although the head of the department, Stas Misezhnikov was not present at the opening ceremony, instead he was replaced by the Minister for Regional Development, Shalom.

Many scholars think that Jesus was baptized in Qasr al-Yahud, just south of the famous Allenby Bridge, the main passage between the two banks of the Jordan. But there is another site with a great tradition of ancient Christian presence, however, and is on the east bank of the Jordan. It is called al-Maghtas (baptism, or immersion in Arabic) and is what many consider the true place of the baptism of Jesus, following UNESCO excavations in the area. Al-Maghtas would be consistent with the story of the Gospel of John (1:28), who speaks of Bethany beyond the Jordan, and there are tales of ancient pilgrims, in addition to the finds of the excavation (ancient chapels and churches) that validate the hypotheses, of course, defended by the Kingdom of Jordan. This site was visited by Pope John Paul II in March 2000 and by Benedict XVI in May 2009.

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See also
07/23/2013 RUSSIA
Thousands of faithful line up in Moscow to venerate the Cross of St. Andrew
by Nina Achmatova
01/19/2008 HOLY LAND
No immersion in the Jordan River for the Orthodox celebration of the Baptism of Jesus
04/23/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Land mine threat: no baptisms in the Jordan
02/10/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Israeli elections: rain, uncertainty, fears of Palestinians
by Joshua Lapide
12/17/2008 PALESTINE
Thousands of pilgrims in Bethlehem for Christmas. But life remains difficult for Christians

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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