lpj: Bishop Shomali honored with knight medal of the Legion of Honor

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lpj: Bishop Shomali honored with knight medal of the Legion of Honor

By Vinciane Joly/ lpj.org

On Monday, June 18, 2018, Bishop William Shomali, Latin Patriarchal vicar in Jordan, was awarded the Knight’s insignia of the Legion of Honor by His Excellency Pierre Cochard, the Consul General of France in Jerusalem, on behalf of the French Republic. A recognition of the bonds of loyalty and esteem that unite the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and France.

It was during a ceremony at the Consulate of France in Jerusalem that Mr. Pierre Cochard, Consul General of France in Jerusalem, awarded Bishop Shomali the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by the French Republic. Instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, it rewards those who have achieved “eminent merits” and contributed to the influence of France. By this distinction, the special relationship that Bishop Shomali has established with France has been recognized.

This Palestinian prelate is indeed very attached to the French culture, master the language of Molière which allows to open to a very rich cultural world. Throughout his career, he has tirelessly promoted teaching of French to seminarians, priests and Christian schools. He was therefore thanked for having “helped to create a network of generations that maintains loyalty to the historical presence of France and its actions here”.

In front of numerous religious and political authorities, including His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus, H.E. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Mayor of Beit Sahour, the Consul General welcomed the role of Bishop Shomali in the defense of Christians of the East, “an inseparable part of the identity of the peoples and nations of this region”. A fight in which this bishop was supported by France from which Christians in the Middle East expect “a spiritual, but also economic and diplomatic support that allows them, in this difficult environment, to continue to be messengers of justice, peace and fraternity.”

Bishop Shomali supported this statement and cited in this regard the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, who, in his speech to the Bernardins, went so far as to affirm that “to sacrifice the Christians of the East, as would some, to forget them, is to be sure that no stability, no project will be built in the long term in this region.” Here again, France and the Latin Patriarchate share a mission, to be vigilant not only towards Christians in a region facing important social challenges, but also to engage with Iraqi and Syrian refugees exiled in Jordan.

He finally recognized in him “a son of Palestine”, a man of peace who knew how to make his brothers “defenders of justice and law”, teaching them, thanks to his intellectual and pastoral qualities, “the intelligence of the situations and the attention to the sufferings peculiar to this earth “. It is in this connection that the Consul General of France evoked, contemplating the ramparts of the old city of Jerusalem, this land on which “the principles of law and justice are put to the test” and affirmed “that Genuine peace can only be achieved by recognizing the rights of peoples and international law.”

This is another step in the long and privileged relationship between France on the one hand and the Latin Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land and other religious communities on the other. Indeed, as Bishop Shomali himself reminded us, it is thus the entire Latin Patriarchate and the Christian community of the Holy Land who are honored through him.

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 21:49
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