In a region where politics and religion have been enmeshed for centuries, the Pope's simplest actions will carry both spiritual and social weight. It will be the first time that an official papal delegation will include members of other faiths — an imam and a rabbi.
He has invited an imam and a rabbi to travel with him—the first time an official papal delegation has included members of other faiths; Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, a leader of Argentina’s Islamic community, are the Pope’s longtime friends from Argentina. He’s also emphasizing that his trip is a pilgrimage with a “strictly religious” purpose, as he said in his general audience on Wednesday.
He has two prayer requests: one, for his meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who represents the Eastern churches, and two, for peace in the region.