Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem Spokesman Father Issa Musleh says the exceptionally painful and sad circumstances our people are experiencing in Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, has necessitated the patriarchs and heads of churches to take a decision to limit Christmas celebrations to religious rituals only.
Cancelling Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Father Issa is instead calling on everyone to pray for the salvation of our people in war, those who lost loved ones or were wounded and the many Palestinians who have had homes bombed to dust.
This decision, in compliance with the decision of the patriarchs and heads of churches, and His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, is to stand with the people of Gaza until the Patriarchate Administration staff can find ways for him to arrive in Gaza.
Standing with our people and the members of our church in these difficult circumstances is critical and occurs at a time when thousands of families have been forced to flee, places of worship, including mosques and churches, are being bombed, with little protection for Palestinians, hospitals or shelters.
His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III rigorously works c day and night with his fellow patriarchs and heads of churches to garner international support for a ceasefire so as to restore life and hope to our people in the Gaza Strip.
His Beatitude, who is in constant contact with Palestinian Christians in Gaza and prays with them, exerts maximum efforts to achieve truth, lift the injustice, in order for peace to prevail in our holy land.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” – the Gospel of Matthew