Israel President Reuven Rivlin last week visited the Franciscan Monastery of Saint Salvador in the Old City of Jerusalem to mark Pentecost, as well as the 800th anniversary of the Franciscan Order in Israel.
The gathering was attended by the local heads of the Franciscan Order, as well as the heads of various other traditional churches in Israel.
Rivlin made note of the fact that this year Pentecost nearly coincided with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, and the importance places on warm relations between the Jewish state and its Christian citizens. Of course, Pentecost was born of Shavuot, commemorating the giving of the Holy Spirit to Yeshua’s followers on that very Jewish holiday some 2,000 years ago.
President Rivlin reminded the gathered Christian leaders that Israel remains “deeply committed to freedom of worship and religion for everyone, be they Christians, Muslims or Jews. We will never compromise in this role.”
Pointing to the rest of the Middle East, the president noted that “these are difficult and painful times for the Christians in this region, and I am proud that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community is not diminishing, but is actually growing.”
Rivlin added that he was pleased to see that the often-quarreling Christian factions in the city had finally come to a consensus regarding renovations at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and committed the Jewish state to assisting this project.