Easter Pilgrimage to the Middle East
Pilgrims from the UK will have the opportunity to show their solidarity with Christians of the Middle East by taking part in a pilgrimage to Jordan to coincide with the Orthodox Easter. Among those leading the pilgrims will be Fr Dominic Robinson SJ of the Farm Street Church community in London.
The ecumenical pilgrimage in April will focus on meeting and worshipping with the Christian communities in Jordan as they celebrate Holy Week and Easter together. In Jordan, Catholic and Protestant Christians observe Easter on the same date as the Orthodox churches, which this year falls on 12 April. There will also be opportunities to visit sites of religious or historical importance, to meet Muslim communities in Jordan and to find out more about work being done for refugees from neighbouring conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. An optional five day add-on pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the Galilee will also be available.
Farm Street Church’s Aid for Syria Project was set up to raise funds for the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service and Aid to the Church in Need among refugees both in and from Syria. The project also involves awareness raising and prayer. At the Seven Dolours Altar near the Mount Street Gardens entrance to the church, regular updates are posted about JRS’s and ACN’s work in Syria and in neighbouring countries in the Middle East receiving Syrian refugees. About half of Syria’s population are reported to be in largely makeshift refugee camps in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, on account of the fighting.
The Easter pilgrimage to Jordan will take place between 7 and 16 April. It is being organised by Living Stones, a registered ecumenical charity seeking to promote contacts between Christian communities in Britain and those in the Holy Land and neighbouring countries. In addition to Fr Dominic, pilgrims will be led by Deacon Duncan Macpherson who is honorary president of Living Stones and has led many pilgrimage groups to the Middle East over more than 30 years; and Father Philip Keogh who had a ministry in Jordan for a number of years and is a fluent Arabic speaker.