Jerusalem Church Leaders Call for Prayer and Aid for War-Affected During Christmas

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Patriarchs and leaders of the Churches in Jerusalem have urged believers to forgo lavish Christmas celebrations this year and instead focus on prayer and assistance for those affected by the war in Gaza.

"Since the beginning of the war, an atmosphere of sadness and pain has prevailed in the country. Thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, have died or suffered serious injuries. Many others mourn the loss of their homes, loved ones, or the unknown fate of those dear to them. In the entire region, even more people have lost their jobs and are suffering from severe economic problems. Nevertheless, despite our repeated calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and de-escalation of violence, the war continues," the joint statement of Church leaders, published on the website of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, reads.

The leaders acknowledged that Christmas celebrations in Jerusalem usually involve various public festivities, illuminations, and the decoration of streets and houses. However, this year, they recommended that congregations refrain from any optional festive events and, instead, encourage the faithful to participate in a "mission of mercy": praying for peace, speaking out against war, donating to aid refugees and those affected, and urging others to do the same.

"We also call on our priests and believers to pay more attention to the spiritual significance of Christmas in their pastoral work and liturgical celebrations during this period, with special emphasis on remembering our brothers and sisters who have suffered from this war and its consequences, fervently praying for a just and lasting peace for our beloved Holy Land," the statement emphasized.

Photo: Mikhail Markovsky / Photobank Lori

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