Donald Trump expected to meet Armenian Church representatives in Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump is expected to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Monday, the Jerusalem Post reports.

According to the source, representatives of the Catholic, Armenian and Greek-Orthodox church will meet the president but questions remain about the route he will take and the inclusion of a scout troop and choirs. It may take on more importance and meaning after questions emerged over whether Trump will visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Trump is expected to visit the Sepulchre in the early afternoon after meeting with President Reuven Rivlin. It is not usual for sitting US presidents to visit the Holy Sepulchre. Bill Clinton did it in 2005 after he was out of office, but a source in one of the churches couldn’t recall any other visits in recent memory. It is more usual for them to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  

Because Jerusalem is so fraught with political and religious tensions, they are warned off the visit by their local diplomats. “Normally if a president wants to go to the Sepulchre, they [diplomats] will tell him it is a bad idea,” the Jerusalem Post quotes a church insider as saying.  

Often the churches have months, even the better part of a year, to plan a high profile visit, such as the one by Pope John Paul II. If all goes according to plan, according to the source, Trump will be accompanied by the Orthodox Arab scouts to the courtyard of the church where he will meet representatives of the church, likely to include Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian, Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, and Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III.

He will receive a tour of the Holy Sepulchre, which has recently had restorations at the tomb of Jesus.  According to the church source three choirs, one from the Catholics, Orthodox and Armenians, will be present.

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