If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand wither. (Ps 137:5)

December 8, 2017

In these days, the declarations on Jerusalem and its future have multiplied and we are all worried about the violence that could be unleashed and the unpredictable consequences.

The Holy Father, also referring to the various UN resolutions, expressed his deep concern, asking that new pretexts not be created for more violence in the Middle East, but to preserve the Status Quo in the Holy City, which should guarantee level-headedness between the religious communities of the three faiths and between the two parts of the city, but which, in reality, has already been affected for some time.

Bearing in mind a situation of evident conflict and considering the rapid changes of the Holy City, we think that every unilateral solution cannot be considered a solution.

Indeed, Jerusalem is a treasure of all humanity. Any exclusive claim – be it political or religious – is contrary to the city’s own logic. Every citizen of Jerusalem and every person who comes to it on a visit or pilgrimage should be placed in a position to perceive and appropriate in some way the message of dialogue, coexistence and respect that the Holy City recalls and that often we hurt by our behavior. Jerusalem is a city that must welcome, where spaces must be opened and not closed. For too long its inhabitants are hostage to these continuous tensions that distort the character of it.

There is nothing that can prevent Jerusalem, in its uniqueness and unity, from becoming the national symbol of the two peoples that claim it as their capital. Israelis and Palestinians should reach an agreement that corresponds in some way to their legitimate aspirations and that respects the principles of justice. Unilateral decisions that change the current configuration of the city will not bring benefit, but only new tensions and they will remove the possibility of peace-making.

But if Jerusalem is sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims, it is also sacred for many peoples from all over the world, who look to it as their spiritual capital, who come to it as pilgrims, to pray and meet their brothers in the faith.

The sacred character of Jerusalem is not limited only to individual sites or monuments, as if these could be separated from one another or isolated from their respective communities, but involve Jerusalem in its entirety, its Holy Places and its communities, with their hospitals, schools, cultural and social activities.

The two sides should take care to preserve the current universal character of the city and to spare no efforts to remain in the place where Jews, Christians and Muslims continue to meet along the streets of the Old City, each with their own mindset and traditions, linked so uniquely to each other.

The discussion on Jerusalem, therefore, cannot be reduced simply to a territorial dispute and political sovereignty, precisely because Jerusalem is unique, it is the patrimony of the whole world, and has a universal vocation that speaks to billions of people in the world, believers and non-believers.

A realistic solution to the problem of Jerusalem should include all these elements.

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

 

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Teachings of Christ

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Our distresses are notorious, even though we leave them untold, for now their sound has gone out into all the world. The doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced grievous wolves hurrying the flock of Christ. Houses of prayer have none to assemble in them; desert places are full of lamenting crowds. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived. All this is enough to stir the pity of men who have learnt the love of Christ; but, compared with the actual state of things, words fall very far short....

Saint Basil the Great
(Letter 90)