Reports from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate indicate a large number of people injured—some seriously injured—among refugees Christians and Muslim families who were taking shelter in the church, located adjacent to the destroyed building.
“Unlike reports of a similar attack a week ago, this one has been confirmed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in a statement,” said Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, WCC general secretary. “Our prayers go out for healing to all those wounded, along with our condolences to Patriarch Theophilos III and all our Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Pillay said: “We condemn this unconscionable attack on a sacred compound and call upon the world community to enforce protections in Gaza for sanctuaries of refuge, including hospitals, schools, and houses of worship.”
In a statement released 19 October, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem stressed that “targeting churches and its affiliated institutions, in addition to the shelters they provide to protect innocent citizens, especially children and women who lost their homes as a result of the Israeli bombing of residential areas during the past thirteen days, constitutes a war crime that cannot be ignored.”
The statement continues: “The Patriarchate indicated that despite the evident targeting of the facilities and shelters of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and other churches – including the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem Hospital, other schools, and social institutions – the Patriarchate, along with the other churches, remain committed to fulfilling its religious and moral duty in providing assistance, support, and refuge to those in need, amidst continuous Israeli demands to evacuate these institutions of civilians and the pressures exerted on the churches in this regard".
Pillay said, “we are pleased that the Patriarchate is not deterred by the current circumstances and will continue to offer support, care and ministry to all people who are suffering the disastrous effects of war and violence. We pray for continued strength and hope and that all the powers that be will work towards an immediate cessation of the continued attacks on innocent civilians, and above all dialogue for just peace in Palestine and Israel.”