During the 2 January ceremony which for only the second time in recent history, brought the Greek, Franciscan and Armenian communities together the benefactors were presented with a hand-carved model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with a partial view of the domes interior.
Mr. Doty offered words of thanksgiving and appreciation, not only for the gifts, but for the opportunity to see this project completed together by the Greek, Franciscan and Armenian communities:
I am deeply grateful to be able to participate in this great deed, he said.
The spirit of goodwill continued as the three custodial communities recessed together to the patriarchal hall of the Greek Patriarchate. At a festive reception, Patriarch Diodoros prayed that this cooperative effort would be but the beginning of many joint efforts:
The stage we have reached today is very significant for this holy place. It is also a significant sign of progress of the work that the three Christian religious communities have undertaken [here]
It is an expression of our brotherly coexistence in this place, which teaches forgiveness, reconciliation, love and unity. [This event proclaims] Christianitys centuries-old presence in this Holy Land, which in three years will celebrate the holy jubilee of the birth in flesh of Christ, our Lord.
Therefore, we pray that this event may become the spark of our spiritual approach. That in deep consciousness of our responsible mission, we may enter the third millennium, led by the truth, which is Christ.
A dinner hosted by the three custodians closed with the Lords Prayer, which was recited by all, each in his own language. To hear these words of praise, hope, forgiveness and love recited in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Greek and Italian was almost as moving as the event itself.
One of the great joys of this event was to see the reaction of the people of Jerusalem to the restored dome. Most Jerusalemites, indeed the majority of all Christians who have been fortunate to go as pilgrims to the holy city, have never seen the dome and the lovely 11th-century arcades of the rotunda; for 68 years, the dome had been concealed from public view. With mouths open, heads tilted back, and audible signs of delight, all looked up to the heavens, to the brilliant light that represents the glory of the Lord.
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Father Denis Madden, who spent a greater part of the last two years working on the dome, is Associate Secretary General of CNEWA and Vice President of PMP.
Tags: Jerusalem Funding Revival/restoration Marie Doty