CAPTION: The new Archbishop of Jerusalem was installed in a service in the city's St George's Cathedral on Ascension Day, "a determined token of hope" amidst the current conflict there

Christians Called To Pray and Support “Everyone Who Is Grievously Suffering” in Gaza and Israel

Posted: 17th May, 2021

The Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, which is linked with the Diocese of Exeter, said “Christians ought to be in prayer and solidarity with everyone who is grievously suffering” in Gaza and Israel at the moment “irrespective of identity.”

The Most Reverend Michael Lewis, who is also Archbishop-Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, added “At the same time, Christians need to read and listen widely and deeply to understand what is at stake.

“What happens in Jerusalem and the Holy Land is never simply about politics; the great world religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam must therefore be recognised as central in working for a solution.”

The new Archbishop of Jerusalem is from Nazareth

Bishop Michael was in Jerusalem last week for the installation of the new Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Most Reverend Hosam Naoum, who is from Nazareth, at the city’s St George’s Cathedral.

He said “The installation on Ascension Day last week, which went ahead even in the midst of all that was happening around it, was a determined token of hope.

“The musicians and singers who accompanied the cathedral service included Jews and Muslims alongside the many Christians present.

“I was greatly moved by being there.”

Lighting candles at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The new Archbishop has since called for an immediate ceasefire by the authorities on both sides of the conflict. He also appealed for financial aid for the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza, which is run by the Diocese of Jerusalem.

He said “It has been on the frontlines of these relief efforts, becoming a beacon of hope to those trying to remain alive under such dire circumstances.

“But they are overwhelmed and in desperate need of upwards of $1.6 million to obtain fuel for hospital generators, and to purchase emergency medicine and medical supplies so that the doctors and nurses who are working around the clock can meet the crushing flow of injured and traumatized victims in this conflict.”

The Archdeacon of Plymouth, the Venerable Nick Shutt, who oversees Devon’s links with the worldwide Anglican Church, said “So often we look at our TV screen and computers or listen into our radios and are left feeling powerless as we see the effects of war and conflict – and no more so now when we see what is happening in Palestine and Israel.

“In this situation, as well as praying for all those caught up in the cycle of violence and death, we pray for all those who are working for peace and seeking justice.”

You can listen to a BBC interview with the new Archbishop of Jerusalem here.

Prayers and Reflections

Prayer of the Archbishop of Jerusalem:

Almighty and Everlasting God: Our days are in your hands; we lift up all those in the Holy Land who are victims of violence and injustice, that you might empower your Church to bring healing to the wounded, relief to the suffering, and comfort to those who mourn; we pray also that you would soften the hearts of all those involved in the recent conflicts, that they would be led to work for justice and lasting peace in the land where your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ first came to bring hope and abundant life to all people; these things we ask in his Holy Name. Amen.

Living God,
deliver us from a world without justice
and a future without mercy;
in your mercy, establish justice,
and in your justice, remember the mercy
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

The name Jerusalem means City of Peace. Psalm 122 reminds us to pray for everyone in the region to know peace and security:

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”

You might  also find this Prayer for Peace helpful (with thanks to the Church of Scotland):

God of justice, bless those who work for peace through justice. Strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence.

God of love, lifting up the holy land for all humankind, breathe love and compassion into our prayers with a desire for nothing other than peace, and especially peace in the land that is called holy.

God of hope, we lift up the city of Jerusalem, distracted and divided, yet still filled with promise as all the cities of the world. Come again into our cities, places of worship, Upper Rooms and Gethsemanes, that we may be given sight to recognize you.

God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in Palestine and Israel and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of the Holy Land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.

God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, give us faith in you that we may be strengthened to care for all those in need until the coming of your son, our Saviour and Lord.