President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, bestowed his Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal, with the Jerusalem Medal of Honor.
On Tuesday evening, the Latin Patriarch was welcomed in the presidential compound in presence of Mr. Hanna Amireh, PLO Executive Committee member and the president of the Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine, Mr. Ziad Bandak, the advisor to President Abbas on Christian affairs, Mr. Majdi Al-Khaldi, the advisor to President Abbas for Diplomatic Affairs and International relations, and numerous priests from the Latin Patriarchate.
According to the official Palestinian News Agency, this initiation was “in appreciation and in recognition of Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal’s spiritual and religious leadership, as well as, his exceptional services presented to Palestinian people and the Catholic Church in Palestine” throughout his eight year inauguration at the helm of the Latin Patriarchy.
Only by late June did Pope Francis accept the resignation of Patriarch Twal, which was submitted in autumn of last year. This was only due to Patriarch Twal reaching the legal age, as required by the Code of Canon Law. Around the same time, Reverend Pierbattista Pizzaballa (age 51), former Custos of the Holy Land for twelve years, was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, until a new Patriarch is appointed.
Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa arrived on Monday, July 11, 2016, to the Holy Land, in preparation to take over the duties of Patriarch Twal. This is expected to take place next Friday afternoon, on July 15, 2016, in the home of the Latin Patriarchy in Jerusalem.
The Episcopal Ordination of Reverend Pizzaballa will take place in September in Cathedral of his hometown.