Pontiff blesses Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan at end of first day of Holy Land trip

Jordan’s powerful and marginalised have joined together at the banks of the River Jordan to welcome Pope Francis at the site believed to be where Jesus was baptised.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, his wife, Queen Rania, and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, the monarch’s personal representative and special adviser on religious matters, welcomed the Pontiff to a very intimate setting of reflection, followed by testimonials of courage in the face of life’s difficulties.

Pope Francis brought his trademark human touch to those suffering – the marginalised in society – as he visited the sacred place.

There, near the banks of the River Jordan he prayed, spoke and blessed Syrian and Iraqi refugees sheltering in Jordan, along with Jordanian orphans, the sick, and the disabled who shared their stories.