Last Supper site to return to Catholic control?

A long-awaited agreement between the Vatican and Israel on the status of Church institutions in the Holy Land appears to be near finality, with Israeli sources indicating that the Cenacle in Jerusalem — on the site of the Last Supper — will return to Catholic control.

The same sources say that the tax status of Church properties has been resolved, with exemptions to be allowed for Catholic churches and cemeteries, but not for commercial buildings — such as gift shops and restaurants — that are attached to churches.

Negotiations between the Holy See and Israel have been under way, with stops and starts, since the “Fundamental Agreement” of 1993 that opening the way for Vatican recognition of Israel.

According to Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli, the Cenacle or Upper Room on Mount Zion would remain under Israeli state ownership. But the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land — which previously owned the building, and sought its return — would have administrative control over it.

This would mean that Catholics will be able to celebrate Mass there.

Tornielli reported that two issues which apparently remain unresolved are a parking lot on Mount Zion, near the Cenacle, and a place of worship in Caesarea, on the Israeli coast.

While the Custody is claiming ownership of the parking lot, the state of Israel says it cannot change the land’s use as a car parking space, but in exchange it is offering the Custody a piece of land in different area.

At the archaeological site of Caesarea, the Latin Patriarchate had a small church dedicated to St Paul (who left from Caesarea to go to Rome).

When the state of Israel was created, the patriarchate was dispossessed of the land and the church was demolished. Now the Holy See would like to have a place of worship in the area.


Vatican Insider


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News category: World.

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