In a meeting with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Pope Francis conveyed his profound distress over the escalating conflict in the Holy Land.
“We are sadly witnessing a tragedy unfolding in the very places where the Lord lived,” said Pope Francis, emphasizing the irony of the land of Christ’s message of peace being a ground for such suffering and turmoil today.
The historic Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which traces its roots back to the First Crusade, is recognized for its dedication to supporting the the Holy Land through charity.
Pope Francis, the sovereign of the order, joined the group amid their consultative meeting in Rome to reinforce their commitment to peace and charity to the Holy Land.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Order’s Grand Master, underscored the their mission beyond the conflict, focusing on supporting not just Christians but all communities in need in the Holy Land.
In his address, Pope Francis also called for a universal and inclusive charity, “a great service you can do today for the church and the world.” This is reflected in the Order’s mission for education and formation, which Pope Francis highlighted as crucial for them to serve effectively.
Pope Francis also emphasized the need for a balanced approach that combines prayer with active service, reflecting the dual nature of the Jerusalem cross that members wear—a symbol of their dedication to both spiritual and practical support for the Holy Land.
Pope Francis concluded his address with a prayer to the Virgin Mary, asking her intercession for the Order’s mission in fostering peace and providing relief to those suffering in the Holy Land.