ΣΥΝΑΝΤΗΣΙΣ ΕΙΔΙΚΟΥ ΑΠΕΣΤΑΛΜΕΝΟΥ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΗΣ ΕΝΩΣΕΩΣ & ΔΙ’ ΕΙΡΗΝΕΥΤΙΚΗΝ ΔΙΑΔΙΚΑΣΙΑΝ Μ. ΑΝΑΤΟΛΗΣ & ΕΠΙ ΚΕΦΑΛΗΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΩΝ ΚΡΑΤΩΝ ΜΕΛΩΝ E.E. ΑΡΧΗΓΩΝ ΤΩΝ ΤΟΠΙΚΩΝ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΩΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟΝ
Τήν Πέμπτην, 14ην/27ην Μαΐου 2021, ἔλαβε χώραν εἰς τό Πατριαρχεῖον ὑπό τήν αἰγίδα τῆς Α.Θ.Μ. τοῦ Πατρός ἡμῶν καί Πατριάρχου Ἱεροσολύμων κ.κ. Θεοφίλου συνάντησις τοῦ κ. Sven Koopmans, εἰδικοῦ Ἀπεσταλμένου τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως δι’ Εἰρηνευτικήν Διαδικασίαν Μέσης Ἀνατολῆς, μετ’ ἐκπροσώπων τῶν τοπικῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ, Κουστωδοῦ τῆς Ἁγίας Γῆς, Λουθηρανικῆς, Ἀγγλικανικῆς καί Αἰθιοπικῆς Ἐκκλησίας.
Εἰς τήν συνάντησιν αὐτήν ὁ κ. Sven Koopmans ἐξέφρασε τήν πρόθεσιν τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως νά συμπαρασταθῇ εἰς τάς Ἐκκλησίας καί εἰς τά προβλήματα αὐτῶν καί ἐζήτησε ἐνημέρωσιν ἐπί τῶν ὑπαρχόντων προβλημάτων καί δή μετά τάς προσφάτους ἐχθροπραξίας εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ, Γάζαν καί ἄλλας περιοχάς.
Εὐχαριστῶν ὁ Μακαριώτατος ἀνέμνησε τήν συνεργασίαν τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν μετά τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως καί δή τήν ἐπίσκεψιν Ἀρχηγῶν τῶν Πρεσβυγενῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν εἰς τήν Εὐρωπαϊκήν Ἕνωσιν, ὅτε καί ἡ Εὐρωπαϊκή Ἔνωσις προσέφερε χορηγίαν, διά τῆς ὁποίας τό Πατριαρχεῖον Ἱεροσολύμων ἀνήγειρε Σχολήν εἰς Μπιρζέτ, προσθέτων ὅτι συνεζητήθη ἡ σημασία τοῦ Προσκυνηματικοῦ Καθεστῶτος. Ὡσαύτως ὁ Μακαριώτατος ἔθεσε τό πρόβλημα τῆς παρά ἀκραίων ριζοσπαστικῶν στοιχείων παρανόμου ἐνοικιάσεως τῶν ξενοδοχείων εἰς τήν Πύλην τοῦ Δαυΐδ, κυρίας καί ζωτικῆς εἰσόδου ἀπ’ αἰώνων τῶν Χριστιανῶν εἰς τόν Ναόν τῆς Ἀναστάσεως, ὡς καί τά προβλήματα, τά δημιουργούμενα ἐπί τοῦ λόφου τῆς Ἁγίας Σιών. Εἰς τούς λόγους τούτους τοῦ Μακαριωτάτου συνηγόρησαν οἱ ἐκπρόσωποι τῶν Φραγκισκανῶν, π. Φραγκῖσκος Πατόν, τῶν Ἀγγλικανῶν, Σεβ. Ἐπίσκοπος Χουσάμ Ναούμ καί τῶν Λουθηρανῶν Σεβ. Ἐπίσκοπος Ἄζαρ.
Ληξάσης τῆς συναντήσεως ταύτης προσῆλθον εἰς τό Πατριαρχεῖον ὁ Ἐπικεφαλῆς τῆς ἀντιπροσωπείας τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως εἰς τά Ἱεροσόλυμα καί οἱ Ἐπικεφαλῆς τῶν ἐνταῦθα Ἀποστολῶν κρατῶν μελῶν τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως καί παρουσίᾳ τῶν ὡς ἄνω ἐκπροσώπων τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν, ἐγένοντο δεκτοί ὑπό τῆς Α.Θ. Μακαριότητος, διά τῆς κάτωθι προσφωνήσεως Αὐτοῦ:
Respected Delegates of the European Union in Jerusalem and Ramallah,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is our joy and privilege to welcome you to the Holy City of Jerusalem and to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. On behalf of our fellow Heads of the Churches, please allow us to express our appreciation for your visit. You come to us at a crucial moment in the life of the peoples of this region, and we are heartened by your presence and commitment to our life and well-being.
The Christian community in the Holy Land has enjoyed deep historical connections and rich relationships with the peoples of Europe for almost two thousand years. In this place where the Church was revealed in all its fulness, we are mindful of Europe’s role in the development of Christian faith and culture. The centuries-long partnerships between leaders of Europe and the Holy Land have enabled the mission of the Gospel to reach every country and continent.
Equally for centuries pilgrims have come here to be refreshed at the Holy Places, which are oases of spiritual renewal for all who visit them. When restrictions have been lifted and travel is possible, we look forward to welcoming many thousands of European visitors to Jerusalem once more.
As in every corner of the world, the last months have been extremely challenging for us in the Holy Land. Because of the pandemic, our Churches and Holy sites have suffered significant restrictions and prolonged closure. We have been unable to share hospitality with pilgrims and tourists from around the world and our own communities have suffered significant hardship and deprivation. While covid-19 has radically diminished our economic resources, we have continued to try to meet the great spiritual, physical, educational, and financial needs of our local communities by God’s grace.
After this period of prolonged hardship, the conflicts of recent weeks in the Holy Land have proven extremely difficult and devastating. The violent outbreaks have served only to deepen the problems that the pandemic has caused. For many in our communities, a crisis has become a catastrophe.
Over the last weeks, the never-ending news cycle has brought global attention to our local suffering. Despite all this coverage, the true beginning of this most recent conflict remains largely untold. These tragic events are the direct result of years of the growth of extremist ideologies and attacks by a growing number of radical groups which have gone unchecked and unpunished. These radical groups are intent on driving out Christians, Muslims, and even some of the Jewish groups, for the Holy City of Jerusalem, and other communities of our region.
The attacks range from verbal abuse to physical attacks against clergy and worshippers as we go about our daily business to the frequent desecration of Church property and Holy Sites. Just in the last few days, we have seen the vicious assault of two Armenian clergy right outside their monastery in the Armenian Quarter and an intrusion into our School on Mount Sion by radicals. Sadly, and worryingly, these kinds of incidents are no longer exceptions; they are a regular part of our life. And it is intolerable.
As spiritual leaders, we have no desire to enter into politics, nor make political statements. Our only concern is the safety and continuing flourishing of the Christian community in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. As Churches, we have stood strong and united in the face of ongoing violence and vandalism. But the situation has changed significantly. We are simply dealing with harassment and could manage this. But the stakes are now too high. For we are face to face with radical groups which seek and are working systematically for our eviction from the Holy City, whether by the threat to seize Church properties, and especially Jaffa Gate – which is the entrance to the Christian Quarter and the pilgrimage route to the Holy Sepulchre – or in Sheikh Jarrah – where attempts to forcefully displace local citizens in recent days erupted into the violence that we have seen on our TV screens.
The Christian presence in the Holy City and in the Holy Land is vital for the well-being and integrity of this region. For centuries we have inhabited a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious landscape that has given this region its unique character as the land of the divine-human encounter. And while all the three Abrahamic faiths have Holy Sites here, it is the Christian Holy Sites that guarantee a truly universal welcome to all people of goodwill without distinction. This unique character is now under serious threat as never before.
The Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land remain firmly committed, even in the face of unprecedented opposition and attack, to act as peacemakers and to carry out our spiritual mission. Furthermore, we will continue to welcome to the Holy Sites all who come here on pilgrimage.
However, we cannot resist the growing challenge to our very existence from radical groups alone. We need our partners in the international community, and especially our traditional friends and allies in Europe to do this, and through you, we call on the leaders of Europe to a robust defence of the Christian presence in the Holy Land against those who would work to undo our life here.
MAY God grant success to your mission. Through you, we seek to extend and renew these European partnerships. We look forward to working together, with the conviction that, with your support, we can continue to enable peoples of all faiths to thrive together in our beloved Holy Land.
Εἰς τήν προσφώνησιν ταύτην ἀπήντησαν οἱ Διπλωματικοί Ἐκπρόσωποι λέγοντες, ὅτι αἱ Ἐκκλησίαι εἰς τήν Ἁγίαν Γῆν εἶναι ἡ ἐγγύησις διά τήν διατήρησιν τοῦ Προσκυνηματικοῦ Καθεστῶτος τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ ὡς Ἁγίας Πόλεως τῶν τριῶν μονοθεϊστικῶν θρησκειῶν καί ἡ ἐγγύησις διά τήν εἰρηνικήν συνύπαρξιν τῶν πιστῶν τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν αὐτῶν, ἐν σεβασμῷ πρός τά θρησκευτικά σεβάσματα αὐτῶν, συμφώνως τῷ Κρατοῦντι Καθεστῶτι καί ἐξέφρασε τήν διάθεσιν αὐτῶν νά βοηθήσουν ἀνθρωπιστικῶς τούς πληγέντας προσφάτως εἰς Γάζαν.
Εἰδικώτερον ἀπήντησεν ὁ Ἐπίκεφαλῆς τῆς ἀντιπροσωπείας τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα κ. Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff καί εἶπεν ὅτι ἀπό νεότητος αὐτοῦ γνωρίζει τό θρησκευτικόν ὑπόβαθρον φιλονικιῶν εἰς τήν Μέσην Ἀνατολήν καί διεθνῶς καί τόν ρόλον, τόν ὁποῖον δύνανται νά ἔχουν οἱ θρησκευτικοί παράγοντες εἰς τήν καταπράϋνσιν καί τήν ἐπίλυσιν αὐτῶν.
Ἐπί τῇ εὐκαιρίᾳ ταύτῃ ὁ Μακαριώτατος ἀπένειμεν εἰς ἕκαστον τῶν μετεχόντων εἰς τήν συνάντησιν τάς Ἱεροσολυμιτικάς Αὐτοῦ εὐλογίας καί τό βιβλίον τοῦ μακαριστοῦ Ἰωάννου Τλήλ “I am Jerusalem”.
Ἐκ τῆς Ἀρχιγραμματείας