» 07/28/2011, 00.00
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.
Thousands of faithful line up in Moscow to venerate the Cross of St. Andrew
The relic arrived in the capital, from where it will be moved to Kiev to celebrate the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia.
19/01/2008 HOLY LAND
No immersion in the Jordan River for the Orthodox celebration of the Baptism of Jesus
Thousands of faithful who gathered at Qasr el-Yahud were not allowed to dip into the waters of the river. The monastery where they were granted leave to pray has been closed by Israel since the start of the second Intifada.
23/04/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Land mine threat: no baptisms in the Jordan
The disappointment of thousands of Orthodox faithful, who had gathered along the river yesterday to celebrate Holy Week. Showers of Jordan River water have been set up, but one pilgrim says plunging into the river is entirely another matter.
10/02/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Israeli elections: rain, uncertainty, fears of Palestinians
For now, turnout is higher than in the previous general elections. 20% of Israelis are unsure of how they should vote. Mahmoud Abbas says that he will collaborate with any government. But the Palestinians are afraid that victory for the right would strengthen Hamas.
20/07/2016 17:12:00 RUSSIA – ORTHODOX
Orthodox Church warns that youth neo-paganism is a challenge for the future
A few days before the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, Moscow Patriarchate officials sound the alarm against paganism among athletes and soldiers. Going back on Christianity “is a step towards self-destruction.”
VATICAN - USA
Pope to Trump: America’s greatness is measured by its attention to the poor
Pope Francis exalts the "rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people” and the nation’s “commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide ". Concerns " for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door ". The oath Trump preceded by various prayers of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish Representatives. The slogan "America first" will guide political choices. String criticism of the establishment. China’s caution and the enthusiasm of the president of Taiwan.
CHINA - UNITED STATES
The Trump era begins: The China-US relationship and the risk of war
As the inauguration ceremony of the Trump presidency approaches, the Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party has banned all journalists from “unauthorized criticism" of Trump’ words and deeds. According to the great dissident Wei Jingsheng there is a chance that Trump will force China into fair trade deals, possibly leading to political and legal reforms. A trade war is an option.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.