Cardinal-elect Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, held a press conference on Thursday, September 21 ahead of his departure for Rome.
Pope Francis will create him a cardinal at the Ordinary Public Consistory on 30 September.
Speaking to journalists at the audience hall of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, the Cardinal-elect emphasized the significant of his appointment for the entire Christian community.
"I was surprised by the appointment by Pope Francis, but even more surprising was the enthusiastic response of the entire community,” he told international media.
Peace for Jerusalem
Patriarch Pizzaballa also praised Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, for his recent statement at the United Nations, in which he stressed the urgent need to resume conversation among conflicting the parties in the Holy Land, particularly with regard to the status and sanctity of Jerusalem.
Cardinal-elect Pizzaballa, who recently returned from Syria, also spoke about the suffering of the Syrian people he encountered, who are afflicted by war and earthquakes.
He recently visited Syria to take part in Bishop Hanna Jallouf's episcopal consecration as the first Syrian bishop of Aleppo.
Heart of life of the world
In an interview with Vatican News, Patriarch Pizzaballa said his creation as cardinal has raised the “voice of Jerusalem” within the Church and on the international stage.
“Jerusalem is the heart of the life of the world,” he said. “So, from this heart, we should receive life from all over the world. But also this heart, Jerusalem, wants to bring the perspective and desire of life from Jerusalem to all over the world.”
The Consistory will be held in St. Peter's Basilica on the morning of 30 September, and will be attended by a number of Palestinian and Israeli authorities.