Photo by Laura Siegal on Unsplash

In their annual joint Easter message the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem encouraged the faithful, especially those suffering war in the Holy Land and elsewhere, to fix their gaze on the Resurrection of Jesus which tells us that even in the midst of darkness all death is trampled by His death.

The Easter message of hope 

The Easter message of hope in the resurrection, they said “not only confirms Christ’s triumph over sin and death, but also promises salvation to those who come to our Lord in faith with penitent hearts.”

Referring specifically to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the Christian leaders of Jerusalem, once again decried all the violent actions targeting innocent civilians and reiterated  their call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire.

Call for immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid to Gaza

Along with this they renewed their plea for the speedy distribution of humanitarian aid; the release of all captives; the unimpeded access of fully-equipped doctors and medical staff to tend the sick and injured; and the opening of internationally facilitated negotiations aimed at ending and moving beyond the present cycle of violence.

Only in this way, they said,  “can a comprehensive solution be finally advanced for a just and lasting peace here in the land where our Lord sacrificed his life, breaking down the dividing wall of enmity, in order to offer the world the hope for reconciliation.”

Closeness to Christian community in Gaza

While extending their message to Christians and others around the world, the Christian leaders of Jerusalem offered  their special greetings to the faithful suffering in Gaza including those sheltering in St. Porphyrios and Holy Family Churches as well as the “courageous staff and volunteers”  of the Anglican-run Ahli Hospital, along with the patients they serve.

“To them and to all who look to Christ’s Resurrection in faith, even in the midst of the present darkness, let us affirm with St. Paul this hopeful acclamation: ‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”