Christian leaders in the Holy Land announced they would reopen the Church of the Holy Sepulcher today after the Israeli government has set up a negotiating team to resolve a municipal dispute over property taxes.
The heads of Christian churches expressed “our gratitude to all those who have worked tirelessly to uphold the Christian presence in Jerusalem and to defend the Status Quo,” the 19th-century agreement that governs Jerusalem’s holy places.
They said they looked forward to bargaining with the government committee “to ensure that our holy city, where our Christian presence continues to face challenges, remains a place where the three monotheistic faiths may live and thrive together.”
The committee’s formation was announced on 27th February, two days after Christian leaders closed the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where tradition holds that Jesus was buried. Church leaders sent out a brief press notice acknowledging they had received a statement from the prime minister’s office concerning the crisis and said they were holding consultations.
The church remained closed for a third day as pilgrims continued to visit the square in front of the church, to pray, kneel and sing hymns.
Picture: Tourists pray outside the locked doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on 26th February in Jerusalem’s Old City. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill).