Great Jubilee News
JOHN PAUL II PREPARES FOR "SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE" TO UR
OF THE CHALDEANS

Characteristic Elements of Abraham's Life Will Be Reconstructed

VATICAN CITY, FEB 21 (ZENIT).- Every effort is being made to create a special ambience for
the Pope's "spiritual pilgrimage" to Ur this Wednesday. Holm oaks will recall the landscape of
Mambre (Cf. Genesis 18,1) where Abraham lived; a stone will bring to mind the sacrifice of Isaac;
Rublev's icon of the Trinity will focus on this momentous event in the life of the Father of faith, as
will Chagall's ceramics.

The Vatican Press Office published a statement on this "singular celebration," to be held in the
Paul VI Audience Hall on the eve of the Holy Father's trip to Mount Sinai. As the Pope himself
announced last Wednesday, he has decided to make a "spiritual pilgrimage" to Ur of the
Chaldeans, as he is unable to travel to Iraq, where he had hoped to go to begin his pilgrimages to
the places of Revelation. The Baghdad regime sent a communication to the Vatican last
December, explaining the present circumstances -- the no-fly zone and U.S. bombings -- would
prevent Iraq from being able to guarantee the Holy Father's security.

John Paul II's spiritual pilgrimage will include moments for the "appropriate proclamation of the
word, intense meditation and prayer," and will be accompanied by signs and gestures, including a
procession with the Gospels and the incensing of the 15th century icon of the Trinity.

After the readings and the Pope's homily, there will be time for meditation with the
"thought-provoking help" of images of Ur of the Chaldeans and other places where Abraham lived.
There are artistic representations of the Patriarch's life in frescos of the Roman Catacombs, in St.
Vitus' mosaics in Genoa, and in Marc Chagall's ceramics. During the ceremony texts of the
Jewish and Islamic spiritual traditions will also be used, since Abraham is seen as the father to all
three great monotheistic religions. 
 

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