Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)
King attend Christmas, New Year celebration in Madaba
Amman, 23 December 2013
His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah, on Monday attended a celebration in Madaba Governorate held by the Christian community in Jordan on the occasion of Christmas and the New Year.
King Abdullah extended his good wishes to the Christian community during a lunch banquet he held in Madaba, some 30km southwest of Amman.
During the ceremony, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, All Palestine and Jordan Theophilos III commended His Majesty’s efforts to bring about peace in the region.
“The patriarchate of Jerusalem, which enjoys your noble protection, along with the Church of Holy Sepulchre, Al Aqsa Mosque and the other Islamic and Christian holy sites, holds you in high esteem as you work hard under severely difficult conditions to make peace in the Middle East,” he told the King.
The patriarch added that His Majesty has “been following in the footsteps of [his] great father, His Majesty the late King Hussein and [his] Hashemite predecessors, the grandchildren of the noble Prophet”.
Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin archbishop of Jerusalem, referred to the anticipated “historical” visit of Pope Francis to the Kingdom next year, noting that around 50 years ago, King Hussein received Pope John Paul VI, and “we will be celebrating the anniversary of that visit in the coming few days”.
Twal also highlighted the King’s efforts to protect the existence of Christians in the region.
“We, in cooperation with the Catholic Church in the entire world, share with you your concerns and efforts to protect the Christian presence in the Middle East and its Arab Christian identity,” he said.
Twal also cited His Majesty’s call during a conference in September, where he said that preserving this existence and identity is not a favour, but a duty.
In his speech at the ceremony, attended by senior officials and religious leaders, former minister Shafiq Zawaydeh underlined King Abdullah’s efforts to improve the economy, encourage investments and lend a helping hand to the poor.
For his part, former minister Jeryes Haddadin said: “God has blessed our land by having the descendants of the prophet among us… you, the Hashemites, have made our country a safe homeland for its people, your supporters, and a safe haven for our brethren who seek refuge here, fleeing the misery in the eastern and the northern neighbours.”
Senator Mohammad Azaydeh noted that Madaba residents “set an example of fraternity, cooperation and solidarity, and exhibit the best model of religious tolerance, social unity and national coherence”.
“They make up a national fabric that rises to your expectations and gives you strength as you lead the march to realise the aspirations of your people to decent living and security,” he added, addressing the King.
MP Mustafa Hamarneh praised His Majesty’s efforts to support development and tourism projects in Madaba, citing plans to encourage passengers transiting through the Queen Alia International Airport to visit the governorate and its archaeological sites in order to contribute to providing work opportunities for residents.
Madaba Mayor Mustafa Maaiaah noted that Jordan has always been a homeland with a “message of tolerance, openness and the belief that we are God’s creations and children”.
Also addressing the King, Shadia Haddad, representative of the women in Madaba, said: “We will never forget, Your Majesty, that it was you who made this occasion a national holiday for all to celebrate.”
“You have not stopped at that. You insist that we meet as one family to exchange Christmas greetings and assert our determination to hold tightly to our genuine brotherhood as Muslims and Christians in this dear homeland,” she added.