Pope Francis urges peace between Christians and Muslims during Jordan visit
The Pope pictured with King Abdullah in the Vatican last month (File/AFP)
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Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania, and Crown Prince Hussein, received Pope Francis at Husseinieh Palace in Amman on Saturday.
The King stressed the importance of the message of tolerance, peace and coexistence the Pope is delivering to the region.
The Pontiff arrived in Amman as part of a three-day visit to the Holy Land.
At the meeting with the Pope, King Abdullah said the papal visit delivers an important message of tolerance and coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
The King and the Pontiff discussed Jordan-Vatican ties and the need to strengthen dialogue between Muslims and Christians.
In his welcoming speech, His Majesty said that it was a “special honour” for the Kingdom that the Pope's pilgrimage begins in Jordan.
The King said that the first official papal visit to a Muslim country was to Jordan, about 50 years ago.
"It is a special honour that your pilgrimage to the Holy Land begins here, in Jordan: land of faith, land of fellowship. Here, fifty years ago, my late father His Majesty King Hussein welcomed Pope Paul the Sixth — the first official papal visit to a Muslim country."
"Here, fourteen years ago, I was privileged to welcome Saint John Paul the Second; and five years ago, Pope Benedict the Sixteenth," the King said.
King Abdullah said that Muslims and Christians in Jordan are building a shared future "on the common ground of mutual respect, peace and devotion to God".
Pope Francis commended Jordan's "generous welcome" to Syrian refugees, which, he said, commands international appreciation and support.
"I thank the authorities of the Kingdom for all they are doing and I encourage them to persevere in their efforts to seek lasting peace for the entire region," Pope Fracis said.