Antelias: HH Aram I Wants Christian Identity of Jerusalem Preserved

PRESS RELEASE
Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]
Web:

PO Box 70 317
Antelias-Lebanon

Armenian version:

“THE CHRISTIAN IDENTITY OF JERUSALEM MUST BE PRESERVED”
DECLARED HIS HOLINESS ARAM I

ANTELIAS, LEBANON – After an intensive discussion with His Beatitude
Patriarch Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem at the Armenian
Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon, His Holiness Catholicos Aram
I made the following statement to the press:

“We follow closely and with profound concern the prevailing situation in the
occupied Palestinian territories as well as in Jerusalem. Unfortunately the
ongoing violence, destruction and killing keep the prospect of permanent
peace with justice far away. His Beatitude shared with us the tremendous
difficulties and daily problems facing the Palestinian population. He also
expressed his deep concern regarding the diminishing Christian presence in
Jerusalem.

In fact, for centuries the churches have had an organized and impact making
presence in Jerusalem. Therefore, one cannot remain indifferent vis-à-vis
the actual situation in Jerusalem where the numerical size of Christian
communities has been significantly reduced, many Christians are leaving
Jerusalem and the activities of Christian churches are becoming increasingly
confined to certain areas of Christian life. These developments are due to
the intolerant and oppressive policy of Israel. We never accept that the
Christian identity of the Holy City be eligibly ignored and systematically
changed. We never accept that the Christian presence and witness become more
and more weakened in the birthplace of Christianity. We never accept the
policy of the Government of Israel aimed at the total judaization of
Jerusalem.

Where are our western Christian brothers and sisters in view of this dangero
us developments taking place in Jerusalem? In fact, Jerusalem cannot be
simply considered a place where a western Christian finds the remnants of
Christian history. The Christian communities have been integral part of the
history of Jerusalem. They are living and witnessing realities in the Holy
City and they should remain so. Therefore it is expected from the Churches
outside the Middle East to express their solidarity and their attachment to
Jerusalem more tangibly and actively by exerting pressure on their
respective governments to stop the judaization of Jerusalem. We firmly
believe in co-existence of religions. This is integral to the history of the
Middle East. Jerusalem has been a model of co-existence and it should remain
so. I believe that the World Council of Churches, the Vatican and the Middle
East Council of Churches will continue to assist the churches of Jerusalem
more efficiently as they face new challenges and tremendous difficulties”.

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The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of
the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the Ecumenical
activities of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.

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