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ASIA / BAHRAIN – King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa invites Pope Francis to visit Bahrain

ASIA / BAHRAIN – King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa invites Pope Francis to visit Bahrain

Manama (Agenzia Fides) – Pope Francis has been officially invited to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain by King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa. The monarch’s invitation was presented to the Pope by Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, King’s Advisor for Diplomatic Affairs, who was received at the Vatican on Thursday November 25 by the Pope and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin , to whom he brought the invitation. This is reported by the Kingdom’s state news agency. During the visit to the Vatican, the envoy of the Bahraini monarch also conveyed the greetings of the Pope to the Pope, who “played the fundamental and preeminent role that Pope Francis has played in creating and promoting interreligious dialogue and understanding between different cultures and civilizations, as well as in the dissemination of the values ​​of human brotherhood and coexistence of all. ”The monarch approved the Document on Human Brotherhood for World Peace and Living Together – which was signed on February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and is convinced that on the basis of the principles contained therein, attempts could be made to build “a future more prosperous for all mankind. ”The official Bahraini news agency also reports the Pope’s“ heartfelt thanks ”to the monarch of Bahrain for“ the kind invitation to visit the kingdom he loves and t cherishes “, because it is a” model of openness and coexistence between its different social components “.
The Pope – as stated in the official Bahraini report – also expressed his appreciation “for the wisdom of His Majesty King Hamed and his constant concern for promoting the culture of dialogue and tolerance” and praised his initiatives “aimed at to consolidate and disseminate the principles of coexistence and fraternity among all countries and all peoples “.
The territory of the Kingdom of Bahrain consists of an archipelago of 33 islands on the west coast of the Persian Gulf. The country ruled by the royal family of Al Khalifa was once an emirate which was converted to a constitutional monarchy in 2002. Bahrain established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1999. The first Catholic church to be built on the Gulf Persian in modern times is the Church dedicated to the Sacred Heart, built in 1939 in Manama, the Bahraini capital, on land donated by the Emir of Bahrain. In 2013 (see Fides, 13/2/2013) the Catholic Church received from King Ahmad bin Isa an additional land of 9,000 square meters in the parish of Awali, where the construction of the Kingdom’s Catholic Cathedral, Notre-Dame , began in the spring of 2014 from Arabia will be dedicated. Bahrain, along with Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 11/26/2021)


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