Friday, May 8, 2009

Pope begins tour of Middle East

The following is from CNN:

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI arrived Friday in Jordan's capital city of Amman, embarking on a weeklong tour of the Middle East that will take him to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

His Alitalia flight taxied down the runway with the Vatican and Jordanian flags flying on either side of the cockpit window.

Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania led the welcoming ceremony, which included members of the royal family, political and religious leaders. Several cannons were fired as the pontiff walked down the red carpet and greeted members of the welcoming committee.

Pope Benedict XVI will deliver a speech at the airport.

It will be the first papal visit to some of Christianity's most holy places since Pope John Paul II made the pilgrimage in 2000.

While in Jordan, he will take part in several prayer services, visit the Al Hussein Ben Talal Mosque, and meet with Islamic scholars, diplomats and academics, according to Jordan's Petra News Agency. Video Watch the difference between two popes: the populist and the professor »

On Monday, the pope will fly from Amman to Tel Aviv to begin his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. He is scheduled to pay a courtesy visit to the grand mufti of Jerusalem and the two chief rabbis of Jerusalem.

The pontiff will return to Rome next Friday.

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