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

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2 Cor. 5:17). 

St. Gregory the Great