Jerusalem, 20 June 1999

1,000 Christian Leaders Arriving for Millennium Conference

(Communicated by Tourism Ministry Spokeswoman)

One thousand Christian clergymen and community leaders from 54 countries, including 40 archbishops and 10 cardinals will arrive in Israel on Tuesday, 22.6.99, for an international Christian conference addressing year 2000 tourism.

The conference, organized by the Vatican’s official travel company and Israel 2000, will take place on 22-27.6.99. Participants will visit Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tiberias and the area around Lake Kinneret. They will also visit Bethlehem and Jericho, in the Palestinian Authority, as well as the baptismal site at Qasr al-Yehud, which will be opened especially for them. The conference will also include masses, prayers, candle marches in Nazareth and a special prayer service at Capernaum, on the shore of Lake Kinneret.

The visiting leaders will receive a first-hand look at the preparations for the year 2000 being made by the Israeli government and they will be able to examine the potential for pilgrimages by members of their communities.

The clergymen and community leaders will meet with Tourism Minister Moshe Katzav, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, Nazareth Mayor Ramez Jerasi and other officials involved in the Israel 2000 project.