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Pope Arrives in Holy Land

Jan. 4, 1964 - Pope Paul VI arrived in the Holy Land today on his historic pilgrimage and was engulfed by hysterical crowds near the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem. Excited policemen in his security guard virtually carried him through the throngs to the walled city, where he followed the traditional path that Jesus followed bearing the Cross. Soldiers used rifle butts and fists in an effort to protect Pope Paul, who was swept past many of the Stations of the Cross without a chance to pray. At times, the 66-year-old Pontiff’s smiling serenity faded, and he appeared worried. Jordanian military authorities announced a tightening of security measures. The Pope’s program was somewhat curtailed because of the strain and fatigue that resulted from the crush.

After the chaotic scene outside the Damascus Gate, the spiritual leader of 500 million Roman Catholics celebrated mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the most sacred shrine of Christendom. Beneath it is the place where, according to Christian tradition, Jesus was entombed before the Resurrection. The Pope passed the night in the quarters of the Apostolic delegation on the Mount of Olives. H left there at 7:02 a.m. today in a motorcade that proceeded north to Jenin, on the Jordanian-Israeli border. About two hours later, the Pope crossed into Israel for his visit to Nazareth, where Jesus spent his boyhood. Through today the papal party, exempted from the barriers imposed by Jordan because of her state of war with Israel, will tour sacred Christian sites in Israel, returning to Jordanian soil later in the day. The Pope will go back to Rome tomorrow.


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