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April 16, 2016

The Muslim sovereign of Jordan, King Abdullah has sent a donation to repair the most important church in Christianity. The restoration project was announced the day before Easter for the western world. The work should take eight months, with completion expected at the start of 2017.

The announcement from Amman was immediately and warmly welcomed by Patriarch Theophilos III who is head of the largest Christian community in the Holy Land. Patriarch Theophilos III said that "His Majesty King Abdullah embodies in deed the shared living of Muslims and Christians all over the world and particularly in the Holy Land. Jordan's role in protecting Christian existence in the Holy Land is clear and undeniable. King Abdullah spearheads the efforts of all Jordanians to sow the seeds of love and brotherhood between Muslims and Christians. We are reaping the fruits of these efforts in this age when sectarian wars are burning entire countries."

It is worth noting that Theophilos III explicitly linked Jordan's donation to the Pact of Umar, the agreement reached in 637, when Jerusalem was conquered by the Arabs. On that occasion, Caliph Umar, Muhammad's second successor, respected the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre as a Christian place of worship. It is thanks to this first important gesture that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has survived as a Christian place of worship over the last 2000 years.

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