Jerusalem (AsiaNews) Today at 3.30 pm (local time), Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa (ofm) is succeding to Fr. Giovanni Battistelli as the new Custos of the Holy Land. The ceremony will be public and will follow the ancient rite established during the Ottoman domination. The Christian community, as well as both the religious and civil authorities, will welcome the new Custos at the Jaffa Gate. The Mayor of Jerusalem will be present. The ceremony will continue at the monastery of Saint Saviour, in the Christian area of the Old City. Here Fr. Battistelli, who leaves his role as the Custos after a 6 years mandate, will hand the Seal of the Custody to Fr. Pizzaballa. The third act of the ceremony, which is centred on the reading of the official Vatican decree of appointment, will take place in the church.
Tomorrow, at 3.30 pm, the new Custos will enter the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, and on Friday he will be welcomed in Bethlehem. The journey to Bethlehem involves passing through Israeli check points in order to enter Palestinian territories. The new Custos revealed his priorities in an interview for AsiaNews (May 26th), in which he explain that the Custody will work to favour the reconciliation between Jews and Muslims.