With great sadness, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate join the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in condemning the Israeli airstrike that struck the compound of Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City. Saint Porphyrius Church has stood since the twelfth century. We grieve for those whose lives have been lost and pray for the well-being and safety of all the members of the Greek Orthodox Community in Gaza whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.
Even when inadvertent, military actions that instill harm to houses of worship and other institutions that are dedicated to aiding and protecting the innocent people who are caught up in war are unacceptable and could have far-reaching consequences that bring even more violence upon innocents. As Thomas Friedman noted in the New York Times, “an overreach in Gaza could set the whole neighborhood ablaze.”
Accordingly, we urge all people of faith and political leaders to take every precaution that prevents damage to sacred spaces and humanitarian institutions by immediately ceasing any and all operations that could harm women, children, the elderly, and others who have no conceivable responsibility for the conflict. We exhort them to recall the value of human life that is taught in their religious traditions, and accordingly to work assiduously to bring an end to this war, rather than to prolong and widen the suffering of innocent people and the damage to civilian institutions.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, of which Saint Porphyrius Church is a part, is committed to assistance, support, and refuge to those in need. We pray that all those involved will follow its lead, end actions that pressure the Patriarchate and other such institutions to abandon their sacred duties, and make the well-being of the most vulnerable and needy their utmost priority.
The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate joins all those worldwide who rightfully condemn the savage terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas. We also stand as “peacemakers” who condemn all violence and call now for the bloodshed to end. Only through a profound commitment to peaceful coexistence and honest dialogue can peace dawn both in Gaza and in the entire world.
In the Service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Archon Megas Aktouarios