Their Highnesses Duke Borwin and his younger son Duke Michael have recently completed a visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan having been invited to attend the dedication of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land’s (ELCJHL) baptismal site at Bethany Beyond the Jordan.
In 2008 the ELCJHL was granted 5 dunums (about 1.23 acres) of land by His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of Jordan for the construction a new church near the site where Jesus is thought to have been baptised by John the Baptist. The official handover of the land to the ELCJHL’s Bishop the Right Reverend Dr. Munib A. Younan was presided over by the king’s cousin and chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad. The site’s groundbreaking took place on 6 January 2012 and over the following years a church, pastor’s house and multipurpose hall have all been constructed on the site. The various Christian denominations have all received land in Bethany Beyond the Jordan from the king to enable them to build churches on.
Upon their arrival on Sunday 5 January their Highnesses along with visiting members of the Lutheran church and members of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH), which provided support to the ELCJHL’s baptismal site through their Jordan River Project, were welcomed to the country by Bishop Younan of the ELCJHL and Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Issam Arabiyat the Managing Director of Jordan’s Tourism Board. At 3pm their Highnesses attended an afternoon tea reception in the grand ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Amman. Duke Borwin was one of the co-hosts of the reception along with Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea the Grand Master of the OSMTH and Her Highness Princess Elisabeth of Ysenburg and Büdingen the royal patron of the OSMTH. The reception was attended by over 70 guests including a number of Lutheran bishops and archbishops, German and Norwegian diplomats, Jordanian officials and representatives of the OSMTH. In the evening their Highnesses and other selected guests were invited to dinner at the e-Faker Din Restaurant by Jordan’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities His Excellency Dr Nidal Qatamin. The Royal Family of Jordan was represented at the dinner by His Royal Highness Prince Raad bin Zeid the Chief Chamberlain to King Abdullah II.
On the morning of Monday 6 January their Highnesses attended the dedication ceremony of the ELCJHL’s new baptismal site at Bethany Beyond the Jordan. The ceremony led by Bishop Younan was attended by over 200 guests and clergy from around the world including Prince Raad bin Zeid, Princess Elisabeth of Ysenburg and Büdingen, Nidal Qatamin, Brigadier General Patrick E. Rea, artist Håkon Gullvåg and human rights activist Venke Aarethun. During the ceremony Bishop Younan spoke of his thanks to King Abdullah and the Jordanian people for their efforts to safeguard the presence of Christians in Jordan at a time when churches are being attacked and destroyed in other countries. Following the ceremony their Highnesses visited Mount Nebo before taking lunch in the city of Madaba. In the evening their Highnesses and other visiting dignitaries were invited to dinner at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Amman by the Rev Samer Azar.
On Tuesday 7 January their Highnesses made a one day visit to Jerusalem where they attended an Orthodox Christmas Mass celebrated for the OSMTH by Archbishop Theodosius Hanna before receiving a tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Their Highnesses then attended a traditional Orthodox Holy Land Christmas luncheon co-hosted by the OSMTH’s USA Grand Priory and their Israeli counterparts at the Christmas Hotel before returning to Jordan and subsequently Germany.
For a full selection of photos visit our Flickr page.