In a quick visit to Jerusalem, American reality TV star Kim Kardashian and her husband, rapper Kanye West, had their toddler daughter, North West, baptized at the Saint James Cathedral in the Armenian Quarter of the capital’s Old City on Monday afternoon.
Dozens of fans mobbed an SUV that took the couple, their 22-month-old child and Kardashian’s sister, Khloe, to the church. The baby and her father were decked out in holy white and Kardashian in a long, crinkle pleated, beige and peach colored outfit.
After the baptism, the Hollywood couple met for a meal with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
“We raised a toast to Jerusalem,” Barkat recounted of his encounter with the celebrities at a local restaurant.
The mayor added that during the meeting, he asked the couple “to be ambassadors of Jerusalem and to spread the message around the world that Jerusalem is open and everyone is wanted here.”
Although not overtly religious, Kardashian has often expressed close ties to her Armenian family heritage. Kim, Kanye, and baby North embarked on their first Middle East tour earlier this week, beginning with a trip to Armenia to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan praised the couple’s contribution to “international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide.”
Muslim Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians died in partisan fighting beginning in 1915, but it denies that up to 1.5 million were killed and that it amounted to genocide.
The family landed in Israel early Monday and were expected to leave Tuesday morning for Jordan. While the couple had previously said they planned to visit various Israeli holy sites during their trip, it became evident that the baptism was the true reason for the short visit.
The Cathedral of Saint James is located near the Armenian Quarter’s entry gate and is dedicated to James the Greater (one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus) and James the Just (brother of Jesus).
It is the principal church of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.Reuters contributed to this report.sign up to our newsletter