Pope Francis has prayed in silence before the Western Wall and placed in one of its holes a piece of paper containing the Lord’s Prayer that he had written in Spanish.
Fifteen metres high, the wall is a place of worship for the Jews for historical and religious reasons, and is linked to numerous traditions such as that of leaving prayers written on small pieces of paper between the blocks of the wall.
Arriving at the Western Wall, or “Wailing Wall”, at 8am, Francis was received by the Chief Rabbi, who accompanied him to the wall. The Pope prayed in silence before the holy site and, like his predecessors, left a piece of paper on which he had written the Lord’s Prayer; he said, “I have written it in Spanish because it is the language I learned from my mother”.
He then proceeded to Monte Herzl where, in accordance with protocol on official visits and assisted by a Christian boy and girl, he left a wreath of flowers in the Israel national cemetery at the tomb of Theodore Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement.
The Holy Father also strayed slightly from his itinerary to pray at a tomb for the victims of terrorism in Israel.