“This terrible attack – which appears to have purposely targeted religious leaders – is an egregious violation of international law,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and all those calling for protection of holy sites, and we reiterate our calls for such protection during Christian holidays and during all days of importance for all faith communities. The WCC is extremely concerned about the increasing attacks on holy sites in Jerusalem and deems it necessary to facilitate a meeting of key religious leaders in the near future to discuss what can be done to stop these uncalled for attacks on religious leaders, sacred places and institutions.”
In a statement, the Patriarchate denounced “the attempt to cause physical harm to Archbishop Joachim, who was leading the service, as well as the attack on one of the priests in the church.”
The Patriarchate deplored the crime, which came at the time of Lent preparations for Easter celebrations.
“The Patriarchate also emphasize that terrorist attacks, by radical Israeli groups, targeting churches, cemeteries, and Christian properties, in addition to physical and verbal abuse against Christian clergy, have become almost a daily occurrence that evidently increases in intensity during Christian holidays,” the statement reads. “This dismal situation hasn’t drawn any appropriate reaction, locally or internationally, despite appeals, requests, and protests made by the Churches of the Holy Land.