Pilgrims Slowly Returning to Holy Land

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JERUSALEM, FEB. 1, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- Pilgrims are slowly reappearing in Jerusalem, after their presence diminished drastically after last autumn´s outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Since mid-January, the Roman Work for Pilgrimages, linked to the Vatican, has begun to send groups of pilgrims again to the Holy Land. In the next two weeks, Brevivet, an important Italian travel agency, is expected to do the same.

These Catholics institutions are thus beginning to respond to the appeal made on several occasions by Christian religious leaders of the Holy Land, particularly His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.

These leaders reminded Christian communities worldwide, especially just before Christmas, that pilgrimages are, among other things, important gestures of solidarity with the Christian minority living in that region.

Last year Brevivet took 30,000 pilgrims to the Holy Land. Another 10,000 canceled reservations after the Israeli-Palestinian violence erupted.

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