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Anglican leader visiting the Holy Land

June 22, 2013 9:26 P.M. (Updated: June 25, 2013 10:51 A.M.)
LONDON (AFP) -- The leader of the world's Anglicans is to make a five-day visit to Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories from Sunday, his office said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Church of England, was to meet with religious leaders, visit holy sites and see community projects, said Lambeth Palace.

It will be his first visit to the Holy Land since his enthronement in March as leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans.

The trip comes after Welby visited Rome on June 14 and met with Pope Francis for the first time, amid efforts to reconcile Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

"Archbishop Justin is making this trip early in his ministry because of the significance of the region, the importance of the relationships that his office has there, and because he is keenly aware of the particular pressures on the region at the moment -- not least the devastating conflict in Syria, and its impact more widely," Lambeth Palace said in a statement.

In Jerusalem, he will visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Temple Mount, as well as Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

He will also meet with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, patriarchs and church leaders.

He will be staying with Suheil Dawani, the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, who will accompany him on all his visits there.

In Cairo, Welby will meet Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt's Coptic Church, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the top Sunni Muslim authority.
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