Holy Father's visit to the Middle East
Pope Francis is due to arrive in Amman later today at the start of his three-day visit to the Middle East. After a courtesy visit to meet the King and Queen of Jordan, he will celebrate Mass at the International Stadium before meeting refugees and disabled young people in Bethany.
Tomorrow, the Holy Father will fly to Bethlehem where he will celebrate Mass in Manger Square and join pilgrims at the traditional site of Jesus' birth. He will also meet with Palestinians at the Dheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem, before flying via Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Pope Francis has insisted on high visibility during his visit and will use an open-top jeep rather than a bulletproof vehicle, heightening security fears. His visit marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's visit to the Holy Land when the pontiff historically met Patriarch Athenagoras I. Tomorrow, Pope Francis will meet the current Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.