Vatican Stews Over Israel's Last Supper Fight

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted May 11, 2009 3:00 AM CDT
Christian pilgrims walk in front of the Cenacle, traditionally believed to be the site of the Last Supper, in the Tomb of David complex near Mount Zion in Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
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(Newser) – Israeli-Vatican tensions are expected to heat up yet again during Pope Benedict's visit today as the pontiff presses Catholic claims over a room in Jerusalem believed to be the site of Christ's last supper. The room is in a building that served for centuries as a mosque and is now marked with Arabic inscriptions. Israel is reluctant to hand the site over without significant backing from the Vatican to help develop and manage it as a massive Christian tourist site.

"If we were certain that this great gift to the Christian world would bring us millions of Christian tourists we might think about it. But since that isn't going to happen, we have no reason to give away presents," said Israel's tourist minister. Control of the site is critical to the Vatican. "Our home was there and I want to be at home," said Jerusalem's papal nuncio.
(Read more Pope Benedict XVI stories.)