CV NEWS FEED // A gate allowing direct access to the River Jordan, where Jesus was baptised by St. John the Baptist has been open between Israel and Jordan after almost 60 years.
The gate was officially opened following a Mass and Eucharistic procession to the Fransiscan shrine of the baptism of Jesus, celebrated by the Custos of the Holy Land Fr Franceso Patton on the Solemnity of Christ’s Baptism, according to a report from the Custodia Terrae Sanctae.
The access point had been closed for the past 57 years because the field between the gate and the river was riddled with landmines installed there during the 1967 war between Israel and Jordan.
Part of the surrounding area was reopened to the public for celebrations in 2021, according to Fra Patton, “but there was still this part full of mines which prevented us from walking directly from the shrine to the river.”
“Now that the last stretch has been demined, we can say that this whole area has been transformed from a battlefield into a field of peace,” he said, continuing:
This means that it is also possible to overcome the languages of war and the language of weapons and transform even what are battlefields into fields of brotherly co-existence.
The Custos was accompanied by Vicar Fra Ibrahim Faltas and the parish priest of the community of Jericho, Fra Maria Hadchiti.
Italian Consul Domenico Bellato, the Deputy Consul Generals of Spain, Luis Pertusa, and of France, Quentin Lopinôt and the Head of Political Affairs of Belgium, Ingmar Samyn, along with several other civil and military representatives were also in attendance.