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Are we allowed to go to Israel / Jerusalem?
  • dear tasbeha friends, can i please have some advice?

    i saw something on another topic saying copts are not allowed by the pope to go to jerusalem.
    is this true? why?

    i ask because a very close friend is getting married in israel this year (to a Christian 'Messianic' jew) and we are invited and it will be terrible to not go. i don't know if we will be going to jerusalem in our travels, i was hoping to go there and to also visit friends in palestine.

    several years ago, i was on holiday in what appeared to be the noisiest part of cyprus and escaped by doing a 1-day trip to israel (we went because of the cheap last minute price and the 2 nights of peace on the cruise ship), and the tourist trip was rather unsatisfactory. we were just 1 large group out of about a hundred large groups being squashed down the same streets and spending 5 to 10 mins each in various churches about which the secular israeli tour guide knew nothing (i have since read up on those places!). so i was hoping to see a few places in more detail (churches, synagogues, mosques, museums) and have some useful conversations with all the different people we know there about their situation.

    so is that a problem? or is it just egyptians who are not supposed to go?

    also i've heard that having an israeli stamp on your passport means you can't go to some other countries. is that true? on the cyprus tour they just hold your passports for the day, they don't stamp them. so i don't currently have a stamp.

    thank you for your help, may God remind us daily of the joy of the ressurection feast  :)
  • Yes we are not allowed to go to Israel... those who go are not allowed to take communion in church anymore, I don't know if this applies to non-Egyptians also. Israel is an occupier, and secondly they won't give us back our church after their own High Court decided it is ours...

    Secondly, if you have an israeli stamp on your passport I know for sure you can't get into the UAE (incl Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc) and probably also other Arab countries...


    God bless
  • ok, sorry for being totally ignorant, but what church is it they won't give us back?

    and do all coptic churches think like this? coz i met some copts (not in my church but another one) who openly went to israel, i think it was recently. i mean, i was not watching to see who took communion and who didn't (i concentate on praying the communion prayer while looking out of the corner of my eye so i don't miss my turn, that takes all my concentration!) but i thought the journey they we talking about was quite recent. there was a priest there (whose english is not much better than my arabic so i didn't ask difficult questions!) who said that he couldn't go to israel, but would like to visit one of the churches there. i had assumed it was a personal problem, or visa problems, again, probably my lack of language skill confused me.

    and do you have any links to official news? i don't want to let down my friend (have already said am going ...eeeeek!) but then again, i obviously don't want to be excommunicated! (really big eeeeeeeeeek!)
    :o
  • This is a controversial matter and I am not at all sure it can apply to non-Egyptians, or Copts who do not live in Egypt.

    I have heard many different opinions.

    Father Peter
  • I don't have any official info but I know someone from my church in Egy who went to Israel, and I heard a discussion between three of the church priests of how he shouldn't do that and disobey the pope's orders...
    So the fact that the pope said this is a fact, I also know that in the past someone I knew went to Israel, and back then you had to post an official apology in Al Ahram newspaper to the pope in order to be allowed to take communion once again...

    I don't know the details abt the church thing, but I know the Israeli authorities are not giving us something we are entitled to by decision of an Israeli court...

    Maybe you should contact your bishop and make sure with him that it's fine...

    God bless
  • thanks for your really quick replies Godislove 260  :)
    i would like to speak to the bishop, but this is my bishop:

    http://tasbeha.org/content/community/index.php?topic=7859.msg102161#new

    like he's really really sick right now and i don't want to bother him with that.
    i will try to see if the bishop in london can help me, i have a friend who goes to his fortnightly meetings, so will send a message.

    thank for your thoughts also father peter, i was also wondering if it applied to non-native copts like me, i will ask the bishop. (but i have to be prepared for the answer! eeek!)

    btw what was that church the israelis took? i don't know anything about that, where was it?
  • Dear Mabsoota,

    Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!

    Allow me to butt in. My information is, and it is a solid one, that Copts who live outside of Egypt are allowed to visit the Holy land as long as they do not spread the news about their visit. Politics plays a role here and the idea is not to send false signals to Muslims of Egypt;there is a danger that the visit could be seen as a form of solidarity with the Jews.Non-copts with Coptic faith have always been permitted to go. I have met many Copts and non-copts who were there.I guess,the church stuff that Godislove is talking about is the Deir Al Sultan, a small monastery that has been taken by Ethiopian Monks. If that is what she has in mind,the issue is non related.

    GB.
  • my info is that it was in a dispute between us and the ethiopians and according to israeli court we are entitled to it, yet the israeli authorities won't execute the senctence... (but this is vague and uncertain info, don't quote me on it)

  • Oh thanks for clarifying Hezekiel, I've wondered abt this issue actually...

    Long time no see

    Anyways, Pichristos Aftonf!

    God bless
  • Dear GiL,


    Christus is opgestaan! Hij is waarlijk opgestaan!

    Thanks for the wishes, nice to see you too.

    Mabsoota, I said something in German unknowingly..All I wanted to say is "Chirst is risen, indeed He is risen!

    GB
  • [quote author=peterfarrington link=topic=7870.msg102162#msg102162 date=1240431228]
    This is a controversial matter and I am not at all sure it can apply to non-Egyptians, or Copts who do not live in Egypt.

    I have heard many different opinions.

    Father Peter
    [/quote]

    I think this is the best explanation anyone has given so far.

    This is SUCH a complicated issue.
  • ok, that is a video of baba shenouda saying we can't go to jerusalem. it doesn't say about israel. i guess i will speak to the bishop, hope to meet him in a few weeks at a meeting.
    thanks for the link,
    God bless you
  • [quote author=Godislove260 link=topic=7870.msg102295#msg102295 date=1240762711]
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x91vfy_vatican-is-wrong-coptic-church-abou_webcam
    [/quote]

    Thanks for the link,Godislove. It is obvious,HH Pope chooses his words carefully leaving no room for misinterpretation by the wicked.

    I am wondering about two things ,though. It is unfortunate that the clip ends abruptly,but HH said,that the visit to Jeruslalem would benefit Israel more than the visitors.I am not sure what HH means,but Israels economy is not dependent on Tourism, because its tourism is dependent on the peace process and stability of the region. Neverthless,isnt it true that Pilgrmis have more to benefit from visiting the Holy Land? I have met many who returned changed as if they have met the Lord in person. As christians, we believe that material wealth( which might benefit Israel in this case) is less important than the spritual wealth and grace that one attains there. What am I mssing here? I tried to search for the second part to find out what esle he says,but I ended up listening to Abu Fam's Tasbeha.

    On the Jewish case and Anti-semitism, It is true that the Jews asked for Jesus' conviction and death. The Lord forgave those who condemned and crucifed him, "Luke23:34,Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do".

    I wonder,by what authority does the church condemn and persecute the Jews all these centuries??

  • I don't think there is any spiritual benefit that one could acquire in the Holy Land that cannot be acquired somewhere else, God is everywhere... I admit I would like to see Jeruzalem, not just for its religious significance, but also for its historic background.. but I don't feel I need to go there for the sake of my spiritual life...

    I agree that Egyptian Copts should not go to the Holy Land, we are Egyptian, Egypt is an Arab country and we are part of the Arab world, and should show support to the Palestinian cause... Also Israel has done much wrong to Egypt itself, our country
    However I fail to see any religious reason for not going to Israel, I agree with the political, nationalistic arguments, yet I don't know why going there would be punishable by not being allowed to take communion anymore, unless disobeying the pope's orders are considered enough to cause such terrible punishment... but then again would anyone listen if there was no severe punishment?

    The problem is that there is no separation between religion and politics, which always leads to complex situations...

    About the jews, the catholics have commited many crimes against humanity, both against jews and other dissidents.., however, although Jesus said on the cross: Father, forgive them.. It has also been said: Your house shall be left destroyed (baytakom yotrak lakom kharaban) and they said: His blood is on us and our children...
    These two verses are used to try to prove that the jews bare guilt Christ's death until this day... and also try to justify hatred toward them
    I have always found this somewhat strange

    So I would like to know the church's (Orthodox church) point of view on this matter, did the forgiveness verse wipe away the blood on the jews? and if not: what are the consequences of the two verses I mentioned above?

    God bless
  • The Church and various states have been guilty of many crimes against the Jewish people over the centuries.

    Even today I am saddened to see that there are Orthodox people who have un-Christian attitudes of heart towards Jewish people.

    St Cyril and St Severus are absolutely clear. No-one is guilty of the sins of another, not even their fathers and fore-fathers. We are only guilty of our own sins.

    The state of Israel, and those who support it, are guilty of various crimes, without failing to mention the fact that there are those who commit crimes against the members of that state. But proportionate criticism of the state of Israel is political, and is not anti-semitic. Anti-semitism, as far as I am concerned, is a sin, and is an irrational hatred of Jewish people, blaming them for many societal and international ills as if an entire people can be blamed for the actions of a few.

    I would consider anti-semitism, in this sense, as much a sin as racism. Where it is propagated by clergy it is shameful. Where it is recorded in Christian history it should bring criticism.

    This is not to say that at certain times in certain places there have not been social problems between Christians and Jews which have spilled over into canonical injunctions, which when taken out of context can appear anti-semitic.

    But hatred of a people is never, ever Christian.

    If you want to know who is guilty of crucifying our Lord, it was ME. He bore MY sins on the cross, and each day I continue to trample on his sacrifice. Don't blame the Jews. They didn't know that he was the Lord and Messiah. But I do and still I sin against Christ. I nailed him to the cross. Placing the blame on the Jews is too easy a cop out. It lets me off the hook. But Christ has already forgiven them. The one who is to blame is ME.

    Father Peter
  • [quote author=peterfarrington link=topic=7870.msg102340#msg102340 date=1240864595]
    If you want to know who is guilty of crucifying our Lord, it was ME. He bore MY sins on the cross, and each day I continue to trample on his sacrifice. Don't blame the Jews. They didn't know that he was the Lord and Messiah. But I do and still I sin against Christ. I nailed him to the cross. Placing the blame on the Jews is too easy a cop out. It lets me off the hook. But Christ has already forgiven them. The one who is to blame is ME.

    Father Peter
    [/quote]

    Thanks, father, especially for that last part, it is a great answer to anyone who tries to justify his anti-semitism.
    I agree with you on everything you said, I am against the jewish state as a political entity, yet I have nothing against the jews as a people... If it was a christian state perpetrating the crimes that Israel is guilty of I would be just as much against it...

    However, I was wondering, what is the significance of the verse
    -Your house shall be left destroyed
    -His blood is upon us and our children

    We're always taught that nothing in scriptures is there by accident, everything has a significance, a deeper meaning that the Holy Spirit wanted us to know...

    Thank you
    God bless
  • [quote author=Godislove260 link=topic=7870.msg102336#msg102336 date=1240863265]
    I don't think there is any spiritual benefit that one could acquire in the Holy Land that cannot be acquired somewhere else, God is everywhere... I admit I would like to see Jeruzalem, not just for its religious significance, but also for its historic background.. but I don't feel I need to go there for the sake of my spiritual life...

    I agree that Egyptian Copts should not go to the Holy Land, we are Egyptian, Egypt is an Arab country and we are part of the Arab world, and should show support to the Palestinian cause... Also Israel has done much wrong to Egypt itself, our country
    However I fail to see any religious reason for not going to Israel, I agree with the political, nationalistic arguments, yet I don't know why going there would be punishable by not being allowed to take communion anymore, unless disobeying the pope's orders are considered enough to cause such terrible punishment... but then again would anyone listen if there was no severe punishment?

    The problem is that there is no separation between religion and politics, which always leads to complex situations...

    About the jews, the catholics have commited many crimes against humanity, both against jews and other dissidents.., however, although Jesus said on the cross: Father, forgive them.. It has also been said: Your house shall be left destroyed (baytakom yotrak lakom kharaban) and they said: His blood is on us and our children...
    These two verses are used to try to prove that the jews bare guilt Christ's death until this day... and also try to justify hatred toward them
    I have always found this somewhat strange

    So I would like to know the church's (Orthodox church) point of view on this matter, did the forgiveness verse wipe away the blood on the jews? and if not: what are the consequences of the two verses I mentioned above?

    God bless
    [/quote]

    But dont you think,it is  once in a life time experience, to walk where the Savior walked and lived ? I think, you do. If pilgrmage had no effect on ones spritual life,why would then people spend  fortunes to visit Holy sites and shrines? For example , musilms who visited Mecca tend to be more spritual than they were, although they believe that Allah is everywhere too. I have met and known people who have shown 360 degrees change in their spritual life just by visiting  spritual places. Sometimes, I think God is readily found on holy sites, monasterys, caves and so on rather in other places that we could think of . Although God is everywhere, He mostly loves to dwell where his image is found. You are right when you say one does not need to go on pilgirmage to find God, but this may apply only to the strong in faith ,remember also  that such a visit has the ability to convert and strengthen the weak and gullible.

    Also Israel has done much wrong to Egypt


    Well, Egypt was ther first to attack Israel in 1948 and the rest is history.

  • Father Peter,

    Thank you for your response and clarification.You have explained it wonderfully.

    God Bless.
  • I would want to insist that Jewish people today are not guilty of any sin against Christ himself, unless of course they personally in against Christ, in his Church I mean - though opposition to the Church is not always a sin against Christ if the Church is itself sinning agaits Christ.

    As to the passages you mention. My first thought is that it is indeed true that the glory has departed from the earthly Israel, and the earthly Jerusalem is left desolate, while Christ is the light of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the glory rests upon the true and spiritual Israel. That is how I would understand all of these passages.

    Turning to St Cyril I see that he says...

    They were about to fall from being members of God's spiritual family; that they were about to be rejected from the hope of the saints, and entirely deprived of the inheritance of those blessings which are in store for them who have been saved by faith. For that they were forgetful of God's gifts, and intractable, and slothful unto everything that might have profited them, He showed, saying; "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto her, how often would I have gathered your sons, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not: behold your house is abandoned unto you." For He taught them by the most wise Moses, and ordained for them the law to direct them in their conduct, and be their ruler and guide in the life worthy of admiration, and which though it was but as yet in shadows, nevertheless possessed the type of the true worship: He admonished them by the holy prophets: He would have had them under His wings, under the protection, that is, of His power: but they lost blessings thus valuable by being evil-disposed and ungrateful, and despisers.

    This seems entirely what I also believe (I am sure St Cyril will be pleased with my agreement). The Jewish religion has lost the grace of being God's family, and is excluded from the blessings of those 'who have been saved by faith'. But I see no positive curse laid upon all Jews, rather the sense I described that they had lost the blessing that was theirs and it had passed to the Church. And of course the Apostles were all Jews - true Jews - and so were many of the early Church.

    And elsewhere in his commentary about this passage St Cyril seems especially to have the Pharisees in mind. So I don't see that St Cyril uses this passage to promote an anti-semitism (because this would be an ideal place for him to do so if he wished) rather that sense that the blessings of being the people of God had passed from the Jews to the Church.

    Father Peter
  • [quote author=Ηεζεκιελ link=topic=7870.msg102344#msg102344 date=1240866029]
    [quote author=Godislove260 link=topic=7870.msg102336#msg102336 date=1240863265]
    I don't think there is any spiritual benefit that one could acquire in the Holy Land that cannot be acquired somewhere else, God is everywhere... I admit I would like to see Jeruzalem, not just for its religious significance, but also for its historic background.. but I don't feel I need to go there for the sake of my spiritual life...

    I agree that Egyptian Copts should not go to the Holy Land, we are Egyptian, Egypt is an Arab country and we are part of the Arab world, and should show support to the Palestinian cause... Also Israel has done much wrong to Egypt itself, our country
    However I fail to see any religious reason for not going to Israel, I agree with the political, nationalistic arguments, yet I don't know why going there would be punishable by not being allowed to take communion anymore, unless disobeying the pope's orders are considered enough to cause such terrible punishment... but then again would anyone listen if there was no severe punishment?

    The problem is that there is no separation between religion and politics, which always leads to complex situations...

    About the jews, the catholics have commited many crimes against humanity, both against jews and other dissidents.., however, although Jesus said on the cross: Father, forgive them.. It has also been said: Your house shall be left destroyed (baytakom yotrak lakom kharaban) and they said: His blood is on us and our children...
    These two verses are used to try to prove that the jews bare guilt Christ's death until this day... and also try to justify hatred toward them
    I have always found this somewhat strange

    So I would like to know the church's (Orthodox church) point of view on this matter, did the forgiveness verse wipe away the blood on the jews? and if not: what are the consequences of the two verses I mentioned above?

    God bless
    [/quote]

    But dont you think,it is  once in a life time experience, to walk where the Savior walked and lived ? I think, you do. If pilgrmage had no effect on ones spritual life,why would then people spend  fortunes to visit Holy sites and shrines? For example , musilms who visited Mecca tend to be more spritual than they were, although they believe that Allah is everywhere too. I have met and known people who have shown 360 degrees change in their spritual life just by visiting  spritual places. Sometimes, I think God is readily found on holy sites, monasterys, caves and so on rather in other places that we could think of . Although God is everywhere, He mostly loves to dwell where his image is found. You are right when you say one does not need to go on pilgirmage to find God, but this may apply only to the strong in faith ,remember also  that such a visit has the ability to convert and strengthen the weak and gullible.

    Also Israel has done much wrong to Egypt


    Well, Egypt was ther first to attack Israel in 1948 and the rest is history.


    [/quote]


    I am not interested in entering in a political discussion here, nor a historical one, but it was Israel which by coming into existence started the animosity between it and all the Arabs... so to say Egypt started it would be... well disregarding many factors in history

    And about Jeruzalem, I agree with you and have already stated that I'd love to see it for various reasons.. however I don't feel it's a necessity
    I also agree that although God is everywhere, His presence might be felt all the more in holy places, like churches, monasteries etc
    I dare take it a step further and say He can be seen in the actions and words of His children... wherever they are..
    My point is, it would be nice to see those things, but there is no result that cannot be achieved without seeing them also, many people get their lives changed without ever having set foot in Jerusalem, it is the heart of the person and God's grace that allow such a change to happen,this desire to change and accept God can be triggored  by being in a certain place, or seeing someone, or by prayers of others for that person, etc.

    We are no longer interested in anything earthly, it is the heavenly Jerusalem that I hope we can all enter when the time comes!

    God bless
  • [quote author=Godislove260 link=topic=7870.msg102347#msg102347 date=1240867136]
    I am not interested in entering in a political discussion here, nor a historical one, but it was Israel which by coming into existence started the animosity between it and all the Arabs... so to say Egypt started it would be... well disregarding many factors in history

    And about Jeruzalem, I agree with you and have already stated that I'd love to see it for various reasons.. however I don't feel it's a necessity
    I also agree that although God is everywhere, His presence might be felt all the more in holy places, like churches, monasteries etc
    I dare take it a step further and say He can be seen in the actions and words of His children... wherever they are..
    My point is, it would be nice to see those things, but there is no result that cannot be achieved without seeing them also, many people get their lives changed without ever having set foot in Jerusalem, it is the heart of the person and God's grace that allow such a change to happen,this desire to change and accept God can be triggored  by being in a certain place, or seeing someone, or by prayers of others for that person, etc.

    We are no longer interested in anything earthly, it is the heavenly Jerusalem that I hope we can all enter when the time comes!

    God bless
    [/quote]

    Oh no, I did not want to go into politics. I hate it . It was not in my intention.

    But I do appreciate and respect your point of view.

    Thanks and GB.
  • this video should explain everything i thought it was very beneficial



    please pray for me

    Mark Tawfik
  • [quote author=markoc pi apostolo link=topic=7870.msg102367#msg102367 date=1240947147]
    this video should explain everything i thought it was very beneficial
    [/quote]

    Yup! Clear as mud.

    1. Why is the Vatican's apology any more relevant to us than what Martin Short had for breakfast last Tuesday?  We (OOC) have been an independent entity since 451 AD.  Even the Great Schism was mostly academic for us.  Yes, we care for our fellow Christians, but should that ever involve taking political action?  We pray for the return of lost sheep; we pray for the schism to come to an end, but if we seek to leave the world to be with Christ, I don't think we should take sides in a worldly conflict.

    2. I agree 1000% with Fr. Peter's statement about placing blame for Christ's Crucifixion, but that isn't what Anba Shenouda said in the interview.  Yes the people who pushed for His execution were Jewish, but so were the disciples, and most of the multitudes that Jesus preached to, and most of the first Christians (It was even a topic of concern in those days weather a non-Jew could become Christian), not to mention that Jesus Himself was Jewish.

    3. He doesn't want us to go to Jerusalem because we might be influenced by the media!?!?  What could they possibly have to say that would be so devastating to our faith?  If you (anyone) are reading this message you don't need to leave your chair to be in close contact with all of the worst of worldly deception and popular tripe that you could possibly stand.  We are in constant contact with ideas that could lead us astray if we don't cling to God's word; that's why he gave it to us.

    4. One of his concerns is that our tourism will provide Israel with financial support!?!?  Are we allowed to support the Palestinians?  Who should occupy Jerusalem?  To be honest (and absurdly unrealistic) I wish the whole region could be owned and strictly policed by a society of politically and religiously neutral museum curators.  Anyone of any faith would be able to visit and pray, but the second a hateful word slips out of their mouth, they would be kicked out.

    5. Who is Maximus I? http://www.metimes.com/International/2006/07/06/rebel_priest_splits_from_egyptian_coptic_church/4618/

    George
  • So...anyone know if the decree still stands? Forgive me, I have absolutely no care for politics. Just want to know if the late Pope Shenouda's decree still stands. 

  • as far as i know it is still valid.

    i did ask a bishop, and he said that if i went for a wedding only then it was ok, but he wasn't thrilled that i wanted to go.
    in the end i didn't go, as it turned out our friend's new family was much posher then we expected and everyone was expected to stay with them in a very expensive hotel. the flights alone were really expensive too, and that was before allowing extra money for food and trips out.
    it was totally unlike my own wedding (i was a poor student) and i wasn't expecting them to be so bling!
    so we couldn't afford to go. having seen the photos since, i also didn't have anything bling enough to wear to that sort of wedding!

    but if you are wealthy and you want to go to visit friends rather than as a normal tourist, then it may be ok, just ask your bishop.
    happy feast of the cross
    :-)
  • I saw a video with his holiness pope tawadros saying that for those living outside of Egypt, they can go to Jerusalem and Israel freely because it is their right and there is nothing wrong with it.
  • Who really cares? Do you have to go to Israel to experience Christ? We see Christ during liturgy so pilgrimages are kinda pointless, maybe in a purely historical context its cool.
  • The same can be said about relics. Do we need the relics or icons to experience their blessings? :)

    But one can argue it's precisely the issue of holding dear to something historically important that had HH Pope Shenouda make this unnecessary and frankly uncanonical decision to excommunicate anyone to visit the sites. Because Israel made decisions on Deir al Sultan that hurt the Coptic Church, the late Pope based his decision on exactly the same reason people wished to go to Jerusalem, because they venerate the holy sites. This is both ironic and sad. But to be honest as well, even if this is something forbidden, I can't care less. If I have the money and time, I'll go, and I hope no one in church has a personal vendetta to rat me out. My conscience is clear enough for me to justify me going. However, I don't think anyone with a good conscience could justify excommunicating one for going. I know this is a delicate issue, but I have no qualms of speaking my mind on this. This decree must be abolished. I care more about the uncanonicity of the decree than the possibility of going.

    I have utmost respect to the late HH Pope Shenouda III, who deserves honors and blessings because of the more good he did than anything else, steering the Ark of the Church well enough in the storms we face. At the same time, we should remember he is human, and we should not be afraid to point out any human being's mistakes. We have saints who made mistakes. This is normal. I would wish people of enough wisdom would never bring this up again, but simply ignore the question of whether or not we are allowed to go to Jerusalem. The question (as well as the answer) is superfluous. If it is superfluous to experience Christ there, it is superfluous to condemn someone to go there. Let the situation die on it's own, and let the decree be forgotten as if it was never made.
  • A person will reap a lot more fruit from living a life of Obediance (not all things we obey must be logically acceptable to me) than to visit any land or touch any relics. 
  • The way I see it, to claim obedience in a matter such as this is only half the story. There is a canonical problem with using an excommunication for any political reason. But that is a dead horse which we needn't beat. Obedience to such "commands" for any reason other than not having the means or desire to go is a lack of freedom, and is diametrically opposed to the Christian message of freedom. I find it quite problematic. If we take a simple step back and take a look at the message of Christ, and his commencement of apostolic mission, I would be hard pressed to imagine his church forbidden from visiting a land because of whatever political reasons may exist. At very least, it opposes his "give unto Caesar..." message. 

    Yes, we honor our clergy. Yes we must remain obedient. But obedience does not mean that we give up freedom. It does not mean that I must subscribe to the political views of my father. The clergy are not the grand Muftis LOL. Like Minasoliman says, once I have the time and money, you will see me in Jerusalem. 

    That being said, I do not think that there is anything "holier" about walking seeing His tomb in Jerusalem, as opposed to seeing his tomb in the sanctuary at your local church. I do not much think there is anything holier about walking his steps in Gethsemane, as opposed to walking his passion in your own life. I do not think there is anything holier about seeing the place where he died to liberate humanity, as opposed to taking part in that freedom. 

    RO 
  • HH made that decision to garner favor with the muslims, in my opinion. Through Ikons I commune with the saints so they are more useful to me in that sense than visiting a place.
  • In terms of the benefits of visiting Jerusalem, I agree, that they are not that great. As for whatever reason HH had for prohibiting Jerusalem pilgrimages, the reasons are many. None which I ascribe too, and none which need be any case for excommunication.


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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