June, 2014 — During our pilgrimage to the Holy Land this summer we had the blessing to meet with Archbishop Theodosios Hanna of Sebastia of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Presented below is audio from our 40 minute meeting with the Archbishop. Bishop Theodosios Hanna is the first Arabic speaking Palestinian-born Bishop under the Jerusalem Patriarch.
During our meeting, he expressed the importance of understanding that the Church of Jerusalem is the only church established by Christ. The rest (Antioch, Constantinople, Rome, etc.) were established by various apostles. But the Church of Jerusalem, a church which has a 2,000 year history, is the Church established by Christ. He quoted a hymn by St. John of Damascus which called Jerusalem “the mother of all the churches.”
He explained the great spiritual experience that a pilgrim has when visiting the holy places that are mentioned in the Gospels. He expressed happiness over the visit of so many pilgrims as the Christian community (now just 1% of the population) is going through difficult times. Despite this, he says that the Christians in the Holy Land still play an important role in society through philanthropic efforts and the support of human rights. Hear more in the 40 minutes presentation, including his experience of meeting Elder Paisios, his thoughts about the recent meeting in Jerusalem of the Patriarch of Constantinople and Pope Francis, and his wish for a non-religious Palestinian state.
His final request is that we all pray for all the Christians in the Holy Land, that they remain in the steadfast in the faith instead of giving up. “Things are never easy when you try to do the right thing”, he explained, “but Christ tells us to be patient and endure and that’s what we’re doing.” He also asks that we pray for the clergy of the Holy Land because they are faced with many problems.
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