Paris (Agenzia Fides) - The site of Jesus' baptism on the Jordan River has been officially declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, during a ceremony held in Paris on the evening of Tuesday, February 2.
The ceremony was also attended by a delegation from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, including the Jordanian Minister for Tourism Nayef H Al-Fayez and Archbishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In his speech, delivered during the ceremony, Archbishop Lahham defined the site of the baptism as "a place where the voice of Christ still resounds" in Jordan, considered "a quiet and safe place, in the middle of a Middle East in flames". "The Gospel - remarked the Patriarchal Vicar - said it two thousand years ago, popular devotion has always confirmed it, archaeological researches have highlighted it, four Popes have visited it, and today the international community will declare it officially. As of this evening - added Archbishop Lahham - we can declare loudly that Jordan is the Holy Land. The Holy Land also and above all includes Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, but Jordan is not the less holy". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/02/2016)