Jerusalem patriarch lays cornerstone of Rawabi church

00:00 Feb 14 2013 Rawabi

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III blessed the cornerstone of Rawabi's first Greek Orthodox Church in the new Palestinian development town Rawabi near Ramallah on Tuesday.

Completion of the church will coincide with the occupancy of the city's first residents later this year, Rawabi's developers said in a statement.

The master plan for Rawabi's construction phases ensures that new homeowners will find essential components of daily life, such as Muslim and Christian houses of worship, ready upon arrival, it said.

Theophilos thanked businessman Bashar Masri for his donation of the property upon which the church will be built, as well as the building's architectural and engineering excellence, the statement said.

He also credited the developer with a vision that is both "inclusive and welcoming to Palestinians of all faiths" and expressed his pleasure at the knowledge that Rawabi's Christian and Muslim places of worship will be "an integral part of the fabric of daily life," it added.

Theophilos held the ceremony in the presence of Greek consul-general Sotirios Athanssiou, Hanna Amireh, head of the Higher Committee for Church Affairs and PLO executive committee member, as well as Ziad Bandak, the president's adviser for Christian affairs, and Adnan Husseini, minister of Jerusalem affairs.
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