This morning, Archbishop Suheil and Bishop Hosam met for the first time with the newly appointed US Head of Palestinian Affairs, Mr. George Noll.
Over the course of an hour, the three had a wide-ranging conversation, covering such topics as the diminishing Christian presence in the Holy Land, the important work of our Diocesan charitable institutions, and the financial challenges brought on by the year-long pandemic.
For his part, Mr. Noll highlighted some changes of policy that are moving forward under the new administration of President Joe Biden. These include the restoration of humanitarian aide to Palestinian-led healthcare institutions, and the reopening of the US Consulate in East Jerusalem. This last had served for decades as the de facto US embassy to the Palestinians before it was closed under the previous administration in 2019.
Afterward, Mr. Noll took a tour of the Cathedral Close, wherein he expressed his admiration for the beauty of its worship space and surrounding gardens, noting especially his fondness for his namesake, the patron saint of our Cathedral, St. George.
After taking his leave, Mr. Noll departed, promising in the years ahead a closer relationship with the Palestinian people in general, and the Diocese of Jerusalem in particular.
We look forward to the fruition of this promise and welcome Mr. Noll and his family to worship with us in the near future.