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UNESCO confirms Jordan site as place of Christ's baptism

February 03, 2016

With a formal ceremony on February 2, the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has acknowledged Al Maghtas, Jordan, as the site of Christ’s Baptism, declaring it as a World Heritage Site.

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The official ceremony, confirming a decision that UNESCO had reached last year, lends the UN agency’s endorsement to claims for the authenticity of the site in Jordan. Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all visited the same site, unofficially adding their endorsement as well.

The site of Christ’s Baptism has been in dispute for generations. The site in Jordan—also know as Bethany beyond the Jordan—is on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. Some scholars still argue that Jesus was baptized on the western bank, at Qasr al Yahud in Israel.


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