Moscow, March 29, 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and the Jordanian ambassador to the Russian Federation Amjad Ode Adayle met today to discuss cooperation in developing religious tourism, reports RIA-Novosti.
During the meeting they discussed cooperation in revitalizing tourism, and in particular religious tourism, as well as visits to historical sites and pilgrimages to Christian holy sites.
Met. Hilarion expressed his appreciation and respect for King Abdullah II of Jordan, noting his role in protecting the Christian presence in the East and the king’s efforts to maintain peace and intercultural and interreligious dialogue. His Majesty declared his intention to protect Christians from ISIS in 2014, and he personally financed the restoration of the Lord’s tomb in 2016-2017.
His Eminence also expressed the readiness of the Russian Orthodox Church to facilitate the visit of Russian tourists to the holy site of Al-Maghtas, the site on the east bank of the Jordan River where the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by St. John the Forerunner.
The parties also discussed coverage of Al-Maghtas in Russian Church media and on the Orthodox television channel “Spas.” Met. Hilarion was supportive of the idea and expressed readiness to send a film crew to shoot a religious documentary about the holy places in Jordan.
Al-Maghtas is a sacred place for Christians in Jordan, and the third most visited place after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity.