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

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

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

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa