The tensions which have rocked Jerusalem in general and the old city in particular have not deterred the faithful from following in the footsteps of Jesus. Pilgrims from the Ukraine, Russia and Greece are still coming, Greek Patriarch Theophilos III told reporters on Wednesday at the official welcome reception hosted by President Reuven Rivlin for Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
The Patriarch is due to fly to Greece next week to attend a European Union sponsored international conference on refugees, migration policies, persecution of Christians and the escalation of violence in the Middle East.
However violence reported in the media is not always as bad as it seems. Romanian ambassador Andreea Pastarnac took a visiting delegation of twelve Romanian Senators from her country’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on a tour of the Old City. Admitting that she did so with a certain degree of trepidation, she told The Jerusalem Post that the group had been to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and had then continued to the Temple Mount without encountering any trouble at all. When asked if they prayed on the Temple Mount her reply was: “We’re always praying.”