At least ten thousand Jordanian Christians gathered on the banks of the River Jordan and the place widely believed to be where Jesus was baptised by the Prophet John. Speaking to the pilgrims, Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal of Jerusalem, urged them to pray "for peace and Christian unity."
Pilgrims gathered on the river on January 19 to hear the patriarch and recall the event in which the New Testament is recorded that John the Baptist, who is sometimes called the Forerunner, baptised Jesus and wherein also the Trinity was revealed. "We must not forget t pray for peace and stability, particularly in Palestine and Jerusalem and neighboring countries, such as Syria, Iraq and Egypt, that are without peace," said the patriarch.
The pilgrimage coincided with celebrations organized by the Orthodox churches in recognition of the Epiphany or Theophany of the Lord. The place of Jesus' baptism is a subject of some controversy since both Israel and Jordan claim the event happened on its territory - on the east or west bank of the Jordan.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.