Fouad Twal - Letter from the Present Patriarch of Jerusalem | Baptism Church
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the peace of Christ be with you all, and a warm welcome to the official online site of the Church of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. In the bible, it is clearly written that the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist "…happened in Bethany across the Jordan." (John 1:28) Recent archeological excavations, to our great joy and gratitude, confirmed the existence of Jesus’ baptism site in our dearly-loved Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Both Christians and Muslims here n Jordan feel wonderfully blessed with this archaeological discovery, and we are fortunate to live in the same place where one of the greatest milestones in Jesus’ life as well as in history of Christianity took place.
Bethany Across the Jordan is one of the three major sites marking the life of Jesus and His mission, the other two being Bethlehem where Jesus was born and Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Bethany across the Jordan is today officially declared by all major Christian Churches in the Holy Land as the only authentic site of Jesus’ baptism. On May 10, 2009 Pope Benedict XVI was graciously hosted by His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania, and visited the site where he placed the corner stone of the Church of the Baptism Basilica and Pilgrims Center. It was a dream for all pilgrims around the world coming to fruition. His Majesty generously and graciously donated the land to the church, while a local Christian family, Nadim Y Muasher and members of the Muasher family, has donated a substantial amount of the required budget for the entire project. Pope John Paul II earlier visited the site as one of his pilgrimage stations on his way to Jerusalem. Today, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world are visiting the site of Jesus’ baptism, many of which also continue on their pilgrimage towards Jerusalem.
We, the Christians of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in particular and the Holy Land in general, feel extremely honored and privileged to be the custodians of the most important Christian holy sites, and to welcome our sisters and brothers visiting from all over the world to witness the special historical important and holy blessings of these sites. We are enormously grateful for this unique privilege but are also cognizant of the enormous responsibility that this entails. We duly understand - being daughters and sons of the Mother Church – that we have to seriously and lovingly commit ourselves to carry out this immense and splendid mission entrusted to us by the Lord. We therefore call upon all our brothers and sisters, in every region of our world, to assist us in protecting, preserving, and building our holy sites – it is, indeed, our sacred duty.
May the Lord bestow His bountiful blessings upon you,
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem