Thursday, November 10, 2005

Israel to Hand Control of Christian Site to Vatican

Knowing just how delicate the balance is between the various bodies that jealous guard their hold on the different sites in the Holy Land, this seems to be an interesting development. Especially the "tit-for-tat" with the synagogue in Toledo.
According to the reports, Israel will give the Holy See possession of the Coenaculum, or the Room of the Last Supper (also known as the Upper Room or the Cenacle), on Mount Zion. In exchange, Israel is to gain control of a 12th-century synagogue in Toledo, Spain, which is currently the Santa Maria la Blanca Church, says the Times of London. The synagogue became a church during the 15th-century expulsion of Jews from Spain.
Read the article (Ha'Aretz, via the Palestine Chronicle)

1 comment:

assiniboine said...

Well, I followed up your links.

(I make a belated but continuingly appropriate apology for doubtless seeming to co-opt your blog with my excessive commentary. The fact is, Gashwin, that you get me thinking very hard in avenues that would never occur to me unprompted, and I am extremely appreciative.)

“In the last few days, officials in the Greek Orthodox Church have asked the Jerusalem municipality for an explanation, since it claims ownership of all of Mount Zion. The Diaspora Yeshiva, which uses several buildings on Mount Zion, asked Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday to intervene in an effort to prevent ‘the Tomb of David from getting into Christian hands.’

Good question. Possibly antecedent, just what IS the status of the Upper Room as an authentic holy site? All very well for the Greek Orthodox to contest it but that’s just turf-protection. Last time I was in the Holy Land I and my Jewish (but Christian-sympathetic) companion would hie off every morning before dawn to get to the holy sites before the onslaught of tourists; our Old City Christian Palestinian hostess figured we were pilgrims to the nth degree (unlike her mainstay of American Jews doing the kibbutz thing) and asked us to pray for her. We of course obliged her with vast alacrity. But we figured that the Upper Room was a bit of a medieval scam.

Not so?