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Pilgrimage to Holy Land
Western civilisation is undoubtedly the legacy of two great traditions which are symbolised by the cities of Athens and Jerusalem. The Jewish tradition and its continuation within Christianity is a religious and moral tradition. And it is from the Ancient Greeks that we have inherited both the faith that the natural order can be understood, and also the spirit of rational inquiry, which is the basis for science. In the twentieth century, however, we came to realise that there is a certain internal tension between these two legacies which have resulted not just in accelerated technological development, but also a crisis in spiritual values symbolised by the two world wars. And that is why it is so important for us today to renew our faith in the Holy sites and for our Order to strive to alleviate the conflicts between the monotheistic religions in the Middle East.
We consider the organisation of pilgrimages to be one of the Order’s principal tasks, and although we are (as yet) one of the smallest organisations within the Order, we endeavour to organise as large a pilgrimage as possible for our countrymen to the Holy Land. Between 8 and 15 March this year, our Czech expedition set out from Vienna to Tel Aviv, 55 strong in number. The group was headed by our brother P Milan Pálkovič and his assistant Baron Jaroslav Battaglia, also a knight in our order. The day after arrival, the whole group was warmly welcomed by Jerusalem’s papal administrator, Archbishop Pietro Pizzaballa. All 55 of our participants gathered in his audience hall. Our members were given pilgrim shells and handed over gifts from our Czech Magistral delegation. The experience was greatly appreciated by all who took part in our organised pilgrimage, and it was even a great advertisement for the endeavours of our Order. We hope to be able to continue in organising these pilgrimages to the same extent.
Dr. Jiří Pořízka
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