PATRIARCHS AND HEADS OF CHURCHES
WE HEAR THE CRY OF OUR CHILDREN
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, hear the cry of hope that our children have launched in these difficult times that we still experience in this Holy Land. We support them and stand by them in their faith, their hope, their love and their vision for the future.
We also support the call to all our faithful as well as to the Israeli and Palestinian Leaders, to the International Community and to the World Churches, in order to accelerate the achievement of justice, peace and reconciliation in this Holy Land . We ask God to bless all our children by giving them more power in order to contribute effectively in establishing and developing their community, while making it a community of love, trust, justice and peace.
His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox
His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Church
His Beatitude Patriarch Torkom Manougian, Armenian Orthodox
Very Revd Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custody of the Holy Land
H.E. Archbishop Dr Anba Abraham, Coptic
H.E. Archbishop Mar Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox
H.E. Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayah, Maronite
H.E. Archbishop Abba Mathaious, Ethiopian
H.E. Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek Catholic
Bishop Gregor Peter Malki, Syrian Catholic
Bishop Munib A. Younan, Lutheran
Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican
Bishop Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic
Jerusalem – December 15, 2009
This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.
In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.
This document did not come about spontaneously, and it is not the result of a coincidence. It is not a theoretical theological study or a policy paper, but is rather a document of faith and work. Its importance stems from the sincere expression of the concerns of the people and their view of this moment in history we are living through. It seeks to be prophetic in addressing things as they are without equivocation and with boldness, in addition it puts forward ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and all forms of discrimination as the solution that will lead to a just and lasting peace with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital. The document also demands that all peoples, political leaders and decision-makers put pressure on Israel and take legal measures in order to oblige its government to put an end to its oppression and disregard for the international law. The document also holds a clear position that non-violent resistance to this injustice is a right and duty for all Palestinians including Christians.
The initiators of this document have been working on it for more than a year, in prayer and discussion, guided by their faith in God and their love for their people, accepting advice from many friends: Palestinians, Arabs and those from the wider international community. We are grateful to our friends for their solidarity with us.
As Palestinian Christians we hope that this document will provide the turning point to focus the efforts of all peace-loving peoples in the world, especially our Christian sisters and brothers. We hope also that it will be welcomed positively and will receive strong support, as was the South Africa Kairos document launched in 1985, which, at that time proved to be a tool in the struggle against oppression and occupation. We believe that
liberation from occupation is in the interest of all peoples in the region because the problem is not just a political one, but one in which human beings are destroyed.
We pray God to inspire us all, particularly our leaders and policy-makers, to find the way of justice and equality, and to realize that it is the only way that leads to the genuine peace we are seeking.
• His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah
• His Eminence Archbishop Atallah Hanna
• Rev. Dr. Jamal Khader
• Rev. Dr. Rafiq Khoury
• Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
• Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek
• Rev. Dr. Yohana Katanacho
• Rev. Fadi Diab
• Dr. Jiries Khoury
• Ms. Cedar Duaybis
• Ms. Nora Kort
• Ms. Lucy Thaljieh
• Mr. Nidal Abu El Zuluf
• Mr. Yusef Daher
• Mr. Rifat Kassis – Coordinator