Pope Benedict visited holy sites in Jerusalem at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday as part of a pilgrimage marred by disappointment over his remarks on the Holocaust.
The German-born pope visited the Western Wall after meeting the Grand Mufti, Palestinians' senior Muslim cleric, at the Dome of the Rock which dominates the Old City.
With the mufti, he recalled the common roots of all three monotheistic religions in the story of Abraham and Jerusalem and called for dialogue between the faiths. He also placed a written prayer in the Western Wall, a traditional gesture, and met Israel's two chief rabbis.
in the note, the Pop wrote: "God of all the ages, on my visit to Jerusalem, the 'City of Peace,' Spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, I bring before you the joys, the hopes and the aspirations, the trials, the suffering and the pain of all your people throughout the world.
"God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft; send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family; stir the hearts of all who call upon your name, to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion. 'The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him' (Lam 3:25)"
Security at Jerusalem (Photo: AP)
He then stood near the Wall and prayed silently for several minutes. "Send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family," the prayer said, according to text provided by the Vatican.
The pope will later pray at the site of Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples before his crucifixion and resurrection, the key to Jerusalem's importance for Christians, before saying Mass for thousands of worshippers at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Police have detained ten young Israeli-Arab men near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after finding fliers in their possession condemning Pope Benedict XVI's visit and calling on others to protest against the Holy See during his upcoming visit to Nazareth.
Efrat Weiss and Yael Branovsky contributed to the report