Site of Moses' Death Reopens After 10-Year-Long Restoration Process

Memorial site where Moses saw the Promised Land reopens

Moses, one of the most of the important figures to Jews, Christians and Muslims for his pivotal role in shaping the Abrahamic tradition, was tragically forbidden by God to enter the Holy Land. After guiding the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and taking them to the Promised Land, the prophet was given only a glimpse of the Holy Land from atop Mount Nebo, where he died soon after. Now, this site which is important for the adherents of Abrahamic religions historically as well as spiritually, has been restored and is now open.

Restoration work on the site began in 2007. Almost decade later, the site was reopened on October 15, 2016. The site has been visited in the past by Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Restoration work was initiated after ruins of a church were discovered on the top of the mountain. Archaeologists ascertain that the mountain served as the spot for a Byzantine monastery and a chapel in the past.

The area has been given to the care of the Franciscan friars who have built their monastery there. The Franciscans took charge of the mountain after archaeological work was halted back in the 1930s. Franciscans are the traditional custodians of most religious sites in and around Israel, including major churches and pilgrim sites in Jerusalem.

Pope Francis sent Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as his representative for the reopening ceremony. The cardinal thanked the Jordanian kingdom for its efforts in protecting the mountain and helping in the restoration work. The cardinal also recognized the liberal, welcoming attitude of the kingdom and gave praisefor its efforts in helping refugees and immigrants, torn by violent conflicts in Syria.

Moses was punished for his rebellious attitude during the journey towards the Holy Land. God decided for his lack of belief, he wouldn't be allowed to set foot on the Holy Land. As a consolation, Moses was told to go atop the mountain and look at the Holy Land from there. The mountain gives a good view of the Holy Land. Pope Benedict too looked in the direction of Jerusalem from atop the mount during his visit.

Cardinal Sandri expressed hope that Mount Nebo would provide inspiration for unity and peace, “As Moses contemplated the entrance of the Chosen People to the Promised Land, so also we may see the day soon break, when the promise of reconciliation between peoples will be realized, and a lasting abode of justice and peace will be built.”  

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