Pope Francis visited sacred sites for Jews and Muslims and kissed the hands of Holocaust survivors on the final day of his Holy Land tour.
The pontiff started the day at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the third-holiest spot in Islam and known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
It is central to the territorial and religious disputes between Israel and its Arab neighbours. There Francis said: ‘May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters.’
The Argentinian also prayed at the city’s Western Wall and left a note with the text of the Our Father prayer written in his native Spanish in a crack between the stones.
At the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the pope prayed before a crypt containing victims’ ashes and laid a wreath of yellow and white flowers in the Hall of Remembrance.
He also kissed the hands of Holocaust survivors as he heard of atrocities committed during World War II.
Joseph Gottdenker, told the pope how he was saved by Roman Catholics who hid him from the Nazis. The 72-year-old, who now lives in Canada, added: ‘The Catholic people who saved me and risked the lives of their whole families to save me, they are looking down today and proud to see me meet the leader of their faith.’
Pope Francis offered a surprise invitation for the presidents of Israel and Palestine to visit the Vatican next month and pray for peace. Both men have accepted.
26 May 2014 | 5:39 pm – Source: metro.co.uk