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Unforgettable details in ASSISI, Italy


[4/7/2019 11:33:42 AM]

AMMONNEWS - A sort of an unusual morning hour activity on Friday March the 29th, 2019, inside the walls of the town of Assisi, where the doors of bakeries and small confectionery stores that display (Cannelloni) with all kinds of different fillings and stuffing of cream and chocolate in their small glassy vitrines, leather and wooden crafts shops, which the town is well-known for, in addition to the shops of artistic works like pottery sets, the manually outlined ceramics, Saint Francis' figurines, animation characters (Pinocchio), also aptly known to us as “Majid, the wooden toy”, and others stores for handmade macaroni that is seasoned with mushrooms and truffles and the specifically known Italian pizza spices, are all flung opened with the first tolls of the catholic churches’ bells. Churches are spread all over the hills that surrounds and embraces the town of Assisi. In its criss-crossed stone-paved alleys, you could hear the marching of steady and rapid footsteps of ladies and gentlemen, who were all dressed up in their full neat and chic military Italian uniforms which are famous for their military golden embroidery stitches or police silver embroidery stitches on collars and hats.

Compact vehicles emblazoned with the renowned insignia (Fiat) and other famed cars, all pulled over and the media and press people got out, carrying their gear and equipments, only for those vehicles to then leave the town, making their way down its hilly roads. As the day progressed, activities in the town picked up upwards towards the overlooking Basilica of Saint Francis the Assisi (Also known as the San Francisco Church), which is divided up into upper and lower churches. Hundreds of tourists would throng inside the grand Franciscan monachal court yard, to observe the exceptional preparations. In some of the strategic sections, the (Alpha Romeo) four-wheeled military compact vehicles were descried in their olive to yellowish color, with their accompanying tall and broad-shouldered soldiers, marching in front of them, armed with their modern (PMX) Beretta sub-machine guns, adding seriousness to the panoramic vista, in addition to their basic security role.

A royal, yet concurrently simple convoy came undulating its way, on a slope, from a top of a spot that commanded a view of the festivity’s venue, where their Majesties (King Abdullah & Queen Rania), spent a night in one of the town’s elegant yet humble hotels. The convoy’s vehicles passed by the King Abdullah the Second’s portraits that were welcoming his visit, and announcing the awarding of the Lamp of Peace Award, which bears the name of Saint Francis, the patron saint of the town. The convoy entered into the Monastery’s main court yard that was decked out with the flags of the Franciscan Monasticism, the Vatican, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Germany and the European Union, all from underneath a high and imposing stone arch, at the entrance gate of the Basilica, where the guards of honor and the flag bearers were all lined up in their traditional velvet and colorful Italian garbs that go back in time to the (Models) of the medieval ages, with their serious posture and determined looks, testament to their unison discipline, reminding all of the officials that were passing before them and into the Basilica of the greatness of Europe, and the prominent stature and prestigious eminence of Catholicism, only then for the German Chancellor Angela Merkel (The recipient of the previous year’s Lamp of Peace Award) to appear, alongside the Italian Prime Minister, and the head of the Basilica, welcoming and greeting King Abdullah the Second, who was one step ahead of the ever-elegant Queen Rania AL-Abdallah, in accordance with the royal protocol.
All attendees entered amid unrivaled standing ovation to an official presence that represented all of Italy’s religious, military and civilian spectra, and the pertinent European international entities. The King's steps were delayed by the stretched and criss-crossed hands, from left and right, all in an attempt to get the chance to shake the hand of the King, before he took his seat in the front row, right in front of the Orchestra and the Choir, where the strong German Chancellor said verbatim, word for word, during her speech, “Jordan which did not turn a blind eye to the cruelty of war, responded with humanity”, all in an indicative acknowledgment on her part of the King and Jordan’s exerted efforts in receiving the large influx of refugees. Father Mauro Gambetti, the head of the Basilica, dressed up in his usual Franciscan outfit, with the brown robe and white rope that shows the life of austerity that he leads, was also impressed with the King’s personal efforts in opening up new intellectual horizons that advocate and call for peace, peaceful co-existence and accepting others. Father Gambetti did not hide his admiration with Islam’s true values, which the King consistently make a reference to in all of his speeches, when he, Father Gambetti, made a reference to the Prophet Mohammad’s saying (Hadeeth) "You are not truly a believer until you wish for your brother what you wish for yourself.

The audience was diversified and derived from all of the Italian broad political cross sections and spectra, and the European presence, which was represented by the Head of the European Parliament, and the media presence, whereas the arrangements and the preparations, which would not have been put in place, had it not been for the reason of honoring a global and inspiring leading personality in the figure of his Majesty the King Abdullah The Second, who reminded everyone of his attending audience of his unwavering and concerted personal efforts, not only towards Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites, but also to the future of the holy city itself.

Following the rising of the angelic voices and the tunes of the Orchestra to the distant offing, and out of the blue, the opera singing giant (Andrea Bocelli), suddenly graced the stage with his presence, much to the amazement of the whole audience, when he stepped up to the podium, as his participation was a total surprise, and upon the direct request of the Franciscan Monasticism, in honor of the person of the King.
The King and the Queen had their lunch, alongside all of those that were invited, in honor of the King, and as per the conventional manner that is followed over there, where the King, the Queen, the German Chancellor, the Prime Minister of Italy and senior clergy all sat down on an elevated platform, in the front part of the hall. The other tables were situated and lined up before them in a horizontal way, where the invitees would sit down to those tables’ left and right sides. Three-course meal was served, comprised of salad, pasta and dessert. The King had his lunch slowly, giving the guests the chance to finish their meals before he finishes and leaves.

The sun sets in a scene that could be described as one of the world’s most beautiful views, declaring the registration of a special day in the history of the city, where those fading sun rays stroked Assisi’s ancient roof tiles that are spread on top of almost all of its fenced buildings that have a wall that incorporates in it around three hundred persons, who are still preserving the detailed features of their historic city until now.

The ancient religious Franciscan Monasticism, which was established in the thirteenth century, spread all over the world, and is involved in all of the charitable and humane realms, such as education and health, is the kind of institution that is represented by people who do not know but to be straight forward, and have no room for complements. Historically, they were known as the Guards of the Holy Lands (Terra Santa), and their honoring and recognition of the person of His Majesty the King, the Hashemite Arab Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, and specifically in this particular moment in time, is a clear and direct message, as such an honoring and recognition is not a coincidence. The Franciscans do not seek for an emperor, king, president or another name to honor but on the contrary, they actually do as Socrates said, “speak, so that I can see you”. Everyone sees and perceives his Majesty the King through his spoken words, which are globally heard and highly appreciated, and his Majesty the King’s deeds in reality are acknowledged by all of the forums of the world.

* By Fuad El Karsheh

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