Above left to right; The Custos of the Holy Land, the President of Israel, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Pope Francis and the President of Palestine all on a bus travelling to the location for the “Invocation for Peace” event hosted by Pope Francis in the Vatican on Sunday 8th of June 2014.
VATICAN CITY (AFP) -- Pope Francis on Sunday hosts an unprecedented joint peace prayer in the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres and president Mahmoud Abbas in a symbolic gesture aimed
at fostering dialogue.
Abbas said he hoped the event in the Vatican Gardens, which will include Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers and the planting of an olive tree by all three leaders, would "help Israel decide."
"The pope's invitation was courageous," Abbas said in an interview with the La Repubblica daily.
"With this prayer we are sending a message to all believers of the three major religions and the others: the dream of peace must not die," he said.
Peres, who is 90 years old and will be stepping down as president next month, was quoted by his office as saying on Sunday: "The spiritual call (for peace) is very important and affects reality.
"I hope the event will contribute to promoting peace between the two sides and throughout the world," he said, adding that the conflict is "both political and religious" and "religious leaders resonate." Read full article from the Palestinian news outlet, Maan News, here
Pope Francis Pope Francis delivered remarks to the Presidents of Palestine and Israel, Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres, along with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and delegations representing Jews, ChristiansMuslims, all of whom were gathered in the Vatican Sunday evening to pray for peace in the Middle East and throughout the world. Read the Pope's address here