Pope Francis visits third holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalemhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/pope-francis-visits-third-holiest-site-in-islam-al-aqsa-mosque-in-jerusalem/

Pope Francis visits third holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

Pope Francis toured the compound accompanied by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

Pope Francis called for Christians, Jews and Muslims to "work together" for justice and peace on a visit to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam.
Pope Francis stands in front of the Dome of the Rock. (Source: Reuters)

"May we work together for justice and peace," he said at the sprawling plaza, which is also considered sacred by Jews because it was the site where their two Jewish Temples once stood.
Pope Francis stands in front of the Dome of the Rock during his visit to the compound. (Source: Reuters)

As he toured the compound accompanied by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, he was surrounded by a large crowd of Catholic and Muslim officials, as Vatican security guards and Israeli police looked on.
Pope Francis is surrounded by security personnel as the Dome of the Rock is seen in the background. (Source: Reuters)

Entering the exquisite blue-tiled Dome of the Rock with its landmark golden cupola, which is used as a place of worship for women only, the pope first removed his shoes.
Pope Francis stands in front of the Dome of the Rock during his visit to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. (Source: Reuters)

He then walked down towards the smaller, silver-domed Al-Aqsa mosque - Arabic for the "furthest mosque" - which is considered the third holiest shrine within Islam because it is the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.
Pope Francis stands in front of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City. (Source: Reuters)

Located at the southeastern edge of the Old City, the compound is known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as the Temple Mount. (Source: Reuters)

Pope Francis joined Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I in an historic joint prayer for the Christian unity at Christianity's holiest site in Jerusalem o May 25. They met at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre inside the walled Old City after signing a landmark pledge to work together to further unity between the eastern and western branches of Christianity, estranged for a millennium.
Pope, Orthodox patriarch in historic prayer for unity in JerusalemEcumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew stands with Pope Francis outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City. (Source: Reuters)

The meeting has been billed as the main reason for the pope's three-day trip to the Middle East, which ends on May 26.
Pope Francis and Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew attend a ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem. (Reuters)

It commemorates the historic rapprochement between both branches of the Christian church 50 years ago, when Pope Paul VI met and embraced Patriarch Athenagoras – the first easing of tensions between the Churches since the Great Schism in the 11th century.
Pope Francis and Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew attend a ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem. (Source: Reuters)

Both leaders knelt side by side in prayer on the rough Stone of the Anointing, where the body of Jesus was laid before burial, removing their headgear as they did so.
Pope Francis and Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew kneel to kiss the Stone of Unction, traditionally claimed as the stone where Jesus' body was prepared for burial, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem. (Source: Reuters)

According to Christian tradition, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where the joint service was held, was built on the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Pope Francis kneels with Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew at the Stone of Unction. (Source: Reuters)