More than 5,000 Orthodox Christian pilgrims proceeded to the Baptism Site in the Jordan Valley on Friday, January 20, to mark Epiphany and herald the start of the 2017 Orthodox pilgrimage season.
Speaking at a Mass service, Greek Orthodox Bishop in Amman, Bishop Venedictus, said: "Today, we so much need freedom and peace in the world which has become like a raging sea...We see the ground burning around us and buckling under wars, but we, in the midst of all of this, enjoy a better life. " He added: "We, in Jordan, are one people and one nation where people of various faiths live in coexistence driven by their aspirations for success and development." Bishop Venedictus asserted that the Kingdom's wise leadership managed to deliver this as a fact where people live in peace, respect and harmony.
He also paid tribute to the servicemen who fell while defending the homeland and said those men sacrificed their lives for the nation, freedom and love and for unity and coexistence.
Bishop Venedictus thanked His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad for their efforts in preserving and promoting the Baptism Site.
On his part, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Issa Gammoh underlined the spiritual importance of the Baptism Site, which attracts pilgrims from all over the world. The site is the place from which Christianity spread to all parts of the world.
The ministry, he added, is exerting efforts to provide the Site with its needs of infrastructure and services to cater for the growing number of visitors.