After our Plenary meeting which took place on the Mount of the Beatitudes between March 8 and 10, 2010 in the presence of His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, we, the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land want to express our fraternal closeness to the beloved churches of Iraq, their pastors and faithful without distinction, in these trying times.
In choosing a message for you from this Holy Site where we are meeting that we would like to share with you the words of Jesus pronounced here that most strikingly call to us: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” These words are accompanied by another beatitude that compliments it: “Blessed are the peace-makers” (Mt 5:5, 10, 9).
Our faithful in Jordan, Palestine and Israel are thinking of you, suffer with you and pray for you. You brothers and sisters, the Christians of the Holy Land, raise their voices and shout as one, “Enough!” And they lift up their hearts in intercessory prayer to say: “Lord, have mercy!”
We make our own the campaign of solidarity on behalf the Christians of Iraq, particularly those of the city of Mosul and through the region Nineveh that was launched by Télé Lumiere, Noursat, abouna.com, and lpj.org as well as other media.
Together with the prophet Jonah we turn to our “gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish” (Jo 4:2) and we implore:
– May all the inhabitants of Mosul, the ancient Niniveh, be incited to new feelings and a new openness towards conversion, becoming convinced that our God is a God of love, and not hate;
– May our fellow Christians in Mosul, insulted, persecuted and facing lethal violence, be sustained in the courageous Christian attitude that characterizes them. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34);
– May our Christian brothers in the region of Nineveh endure their trials with patience, confident that the forces of evil will not prevail, while the strength of love is eternal and that after the cross of Calvary there is always liberating redemption and the dawn of the resurrection.
+ Fouad Twal
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem – President ACOHL
+ Elias Chacour
Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Akka – Vice President ACOHL
+ Peter Muallem
Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Akka
+ Yaser Al-Ayyash
Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia
+ Paul Sayyah
Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and Holy Land
Maronite Patriarchal of Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories and Jordan
+ Yousef J. Zerey
Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem
+ Pierre Melki
Syro Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem, the Holy Land and Jordan
+ Selim Sayegh
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan
+ Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel
+ Kamal Bathish
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Latin Patriarchate
Mons. Rafael Minassian
Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem
Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM
Custos of the Holy Land
Fr. Paul Colin
Patriarchal Vicar for Chaldeans
Fr. David Neuhaus, S.J.
Patriarchal Vicar for the Hebrew speaking community
Fr. Pietro Felet, SCJ
Secretary General ACOHL