WCC condemns attack on building adjacent to St Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza

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.”

Statement by the Jerusalem Patriarchate

WCC calls for urgent humanitarian response in Gaza and UN-Led criminal investigation (WCC news release 19 October 2023)

WCC outraged at news of attack on hospital in Gaza, calls for justice and human dignity (WCC news release 17 October 2023)

Statement by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

WCC calls for immediate ceasefire, urgent humanitarian aid for Gaza (WCC news release 15 October 2023)

WCC, Jerusalem Heads of Churches invite all to global prayer day (WCC news release 15 October 2023)

Jerusalem Heads of Churches urge addressing humanitarian crisis in Gaza (WCC news release 13 October 2023)

WCC calls for a new approach to conflict in Palestine and Israel (WCC news release 13 October 2023)

Statement: WCC calls for a new approach to the conflict in Palestine and Israel (13 October 2023)

Church leaders in Holy Land call for de-escalation, respect for human rights (WCC news release 9 October 2023)

Service of Lament for Palestine and Israel: “we solidly believe in the sanctity of life” (WCC news release 12 October 2023)

WCC urgently appeals for immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine (WCC news release 7 October 2023)

St Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza