Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, June 26, inaugurated the Russian Pilgrims House at the Baptism site in the Jordan Valley.
“I thank His Majesty King Abdullah II for his great support to this project, which is of a paramount importance to thousands of Russian pilgrims,” Putin said in remarks after the opening ceremony attended by King’s Adviser for Religious and Cultural Affairs, HRH Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammad.
The Russian President added, “I am glad for coming to the holiest place, and I will do all I can to make it easier for our pilgrims to visit this holy site.” He said that the Russian interest of this place dates back to the 13th century when Russian pilgrims used to visit holy sites in Jordan and Palestine.
Putin commended Jordan’s efforts to preserve such holy places that are cultural heritage of the Kingdom and all Christians across the world.
The President added that Jordan’s care of holy places is an evidence of the Jordanian people’s respect of all religions. Putin hailed King Abdullah II’s role in promoting tolerance among the various religions, referring to the Amman Message, which upholds interfaith dialogue and harmony. Putin also thanked Prince Ghazi for his active role and non-stop support for interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue among the various peoples of the world.
Prince Ghazi praised Russia’s freedom of worship after religious rites were banned in the past, adding that there are now more than 100 million Orthodox Christians and 15 million Muslims in Russia who practice their religious rites freely and without fear.
The Prince thanked the Russian leadership and government for their support to this project, stressing that it will help boost Jordan’s economy in general and the tourism sector in particular.
Putin toured the site and wrote his name in a visitors book. He decorated Prince Ghazi with a friendship honor.