Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem: “We Face Unprecedented Threats to Our Life Here

Αssociated Press

His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III arrives to the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, to celebrate Christmas according to the Eastern Orthodox calendar, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem on January 6. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

AMMAN, JORDAN – During a recent meeting of the Anglican Communion Primates with Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem in Amman, Jordan, he said in his welcoming remarks that, “we face unprecedented threats to our life here, especially from radical groups who are seeking actively to undermine our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious landscape. Even in the Old City of Jerusalem, we see this activity, which, if unchecked, could well lead to fundamental disruptions in the ability of pilgrims and local Christians to have access to our administrative center as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.”

He noted that these were very serious issues which the Patriarchate was called to face, “encouraged both from the unity of purpose that exists among the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land, as well as from the remarkable support that we are receiving from leaders in government and religion around the world.”

Theophilos said, “we cannot rest, for the pressures are great and relentless, and we know that an assault against one of our communities is an assault to us all.”

Patriarch Theophilos also said that “as you gather here in preparation for the Lambeth Conference next summer, we recall with deep joy our participation in the last Lambeth Conference twelve years ago. The Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Church have enjoyed a centuries-long relationship that is important to us both. We share so much in our common patristic heritage and over the generations we have been able to be of unique support to each other…While it is true that both our Churches are facing complicated internal issues at the present time, we cannot let these matters distract us from our fundamental commitment to an ever-deepening dialogue and to travelling together on the road to unity. We must always resist the temptation to a narrow parochial focus that blinds us to the greater and primary mission of the Church, of being a beacon of the light of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in a world that is increasingly bereft of hope, and where confusion and despair struggle with truth and joy for the souls of men and women.”