Letter from Pope John Paul II to the Custos of the Holy Land on the occasion of the inauguration of St. Peter’s Memorial at Capernaum – 4 June 1990

John Paul II

“[…] We view the feast of the Saints Peter and Paul as being even more important than usual this year, and we wish in particular to applaud the holy Memorial that, on this same happy day, will appropriately be dedicated to Peter, Prince of the Apostles, in the place where he himself lived.
Knowing as we do the individual steps that were required to create this Shrine, we can only offer our praise for the long and devoted dedication of the Custody of the Holy Land to constructing such a remarkable monument that we so highly value and praise.
Today can be seen the fruits of all the studies and researches on the places linked to St. Peter; in this edifice they seem to be reunited and transmitted to posterity.
No one can fail to appreciate the importance of this monument for fortifying faith and for illuminating the future piety of countless people.
[...] Together we will celebrate on the 29th of this month the dedication of this eminent and praiseworthy sacred memorial edifice.
Let Capernaum, embellished in this manner with the Evangelical memory and the dignity of the Sanctuary of Peter, now obtain the illustrious honor that it merits.
Let Our Apostolic Blessing be for you, Most Reverend Father, and for all the collaborators on this fruitful and important work – both difficult and constant – of the Custody of the Holy Land, a document that comes from Our gratitude for the completion of this Sacred Edifice of the Memorial at Capernaum, and let it be a pledge of the heavenly assistance necessary for the prosperity of your apostolate and a testimony of your firm resolution and intention.”

John Paul II 4 June 1990


John Paul II

Dear members and friends of the “Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches”!
“1. While I would like to extend my cordial welcome to all of you, I wish to particularly salute Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, Prefect for the Congregation of Eastern Churches and President of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO). [...] Cardinal Lourdusamy will shortly be going to the Holy Land to preside, as representative of the Holy See, on the occasion of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul at the inauguration of St. Peter’s Memorial, which has been created by the Custody of the Holy Land in Capernaum, at the site of ‘Peter’s House’.
“Such events are important because they indicate with what anxiety the Church follows the fortunes of that land sanctified by the presence of the Lord that has become, in a certain sense, the spiritual heritage of Christians throughout the world, who wish not only to visit the sanctuaries and Holy Places there, but also to support the Christian community living in that region. This is a community that during the course of the centuries has had to undergo numerous trials and painful vicissitudes that have weakened its position, leaving its members in need of both moral and material assistance. Assistance that they well deserve because they participate in the sufferings of Christ and honor their names as Christians through the testimony of a living faith and a poverty that is lived according to the spirit of the Gospels. But in order for this Christian community to be able to survive it will be necessary for Christians throughout the world to show their generosity and make felt the warmth of their solidarity.
“2. As for the situation that has been created in these recent times in the Holy Land, notably in Jerusalem, I have recently invited all Catholics to take to heart the fate of these peoples, and to be united with them in the ‘common search for solutions based on justice and the respect for human rights’, and in their prayers, because the Lord gives peace to that city which is holy par excellence and cherished by all three monotheistic religions.
Be bearers yourselves of this appeal of mine for peace and justice in the Holy Land, in the full respect of the rights of all peoples and communities. Make the Land of Jesus the center of your charitable activities, always keeping in mind that alongside the ‘history of salvation’ there also exists a ‘geography of salvation’.”

Thursday, 21 June 1990