We started off day two with a visit to the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, the Roman Catholic representative to the Holy Land. He was so gracious and even a bit of a comedian! With the Pope coming soon he was very busy, but took time out to talk to is about the role of Christians in the Holy Land.
We then met with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, His Beatitude Theophilos III, and had a tour of the grounds, which takes up about 1/10 of the Old City. We received cognac and chocolate while hearing him talk about taking care of the Holy sites and how Jerusalem is a place for everyone, and so received an icon! Unfortunately we ran longer than anticipated, and missed our appointment with the Evangelical Lutheran Patriarch, but hopefully we will see him in Bethlehem while we are there.
Next was a stop for lunch, some free time to roam around the city, and then off to the Church if the Holy Sepulcher. It was fascinating to see all the different denominations and their altars to the place where Jesus was hung on the cross and buried. Every altar had their own style, and it was interesting to see what each did. One of my favorite parts was the replica of what a tomb would have looked like in Jesus' time, and we could take a candle into the small cave and see where Jesus would have been laid.
Next we were off to the Western Wall to place our prayers and pray at the stones that date back to the Herodian era. It was incredible to see everyone praying together, and there are even chairs and Holy books available to those who wish to use them.
After that we had some more free time that we spent just wandering around the city. I love how diverse Jerusalem is not only in the inhabitants but the tourists. There are visitors from all over the world, and despite the quarters dividing the city, all members walk among the bazaars and though the streets in harmony.
Dinner was fabulous as always and I ate way too much. I can't wait for tomorrow to arrive in Bethlehem, and walk less! I am ready to sit on a bus for a few hours after walking all day today.