Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have issued an official statement about a possible unilateral decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise the holy city as the capital of Israel. Pope Francis himself waded into the controversy during this morning’s general audience, calling for upholding of the status quo.
In their letter, the Church leaders say that they are “following, with concern, the reports about the possibility of changing how the United States understands and deals with the status of Jerusalem. We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division.”
For the leaders of the Churches in Jerusalem, such a solution would move “us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division. This is why they call upon Trump to “help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all.”
“Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm. We are confident that, with strong support from our friends, Israelis and Palestinians can work towards negotiating a sustainable and just peace, benefiting all who long for the Holy City of Jerusalem to fulfil its destiny.”
Jerusalem “can be shared and fully enjoyed once a political process helps liberate the hearts of all people, that live within it, from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing” for far too long.
The Churches note that “Christmas is upon us soon” and represents “a feast of peace”. For this reason, they plead that that Jerusalem not to be deprived of peace. “As the Christian leaders of Jerusalem, we invite you to walk with us in hope as we build a just, inclusive peace for all the peoples of this unique and Holy City.
The letter with Christmas greetings to the US president was signed by: Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate; Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate; Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate; Fr Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land; Archbishop Anba Antonious, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem; Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate; Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate; Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate; Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East; Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land; Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate; Mgr Georges Dankaye’, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate. (DS)