Patriarch Maximos V. Hakim of the Melkite or Greek-Catholic Church is in Britain following his?
GV High Street Kensington
SV PAN Kensington Church
SV INT Patriach Maximos Fifth seated with interviewer.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3
ASPELL: "Beatitude, you've recently been in Rome for a meeting of the Bishops' Synod. What attitude did the Pope put forward as to the situation of Jerusalem as it stands at the moment."
PATRIARCH: "Well, the Pope himself has a very official and very clear stand. He says that the Catholic Church would be with the decisions of the United Nations concerning Jerusalem and Palestine. And as much as the decision of the United Nations concerning Jerusalem and Jerusalem International particularly, he would stand for it unless it is changed."
ASPELL: "What is the situation at the moment, of Christians and Arab Moslems, getting into Jerusalem, their Holy City, for pilgrimages?"
PATRIARCH: "Well today, we must make a very clear distinction between the Arabs. The Arabs who live under the Israeli regime, who are in Israel today, are allowed to visit the Holy places. But they are a very few, as you know. The most important number means about ten million Christians in the Arab world outside Israel. And nearly a hundred million Moslems outside Israel are not allowed not to visit the Holy places; although Israel claims they are allowed I can just give an instance. I was myself in Israel before becoming Patriarch. I was archbishop of Nazareth and Galilee, and I know they did not allow any Christian to visit Nazareth or the Lake of Galilee, or the places which were under Israeli domination. So it is today exactly the same."
ASPELL: "But this is surely confined to just Christians living in the Arab world or under Israeli domination. Christians, say from the United States could go without any fear of interference whatsoever?"
PATRIARCH: "They can freely visit, they can go and visit as they like, there is no problem for Christians outside the Arab states."
Initials BB/1710 CM/AW/BB/1700
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Background: Patriarch Maximos V. Hakim of the Melkite or Greek-Catholic Church is in Britain following his attendance at the Synod of Bishops, recently held in Rome.
The Patriarch is normally based in Beirut, and is regarded as an expert in the problems of Christians in the Middle East.
Visnews' reporter Tom Aspell talked to him about access for Christians to the Holy places of Jerusalem.