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Anglican Communion response to fresh outbreak of violence in the Holy Land

Posted on: October 8, 2023 10:48 AM
The co-chairs of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD), Metropolitan-Athenagoras of Belgium and Bishop Michael Lewis, with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Patriarch Theophilos III, andthe Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Hosam Naoum, pictured last week in Jerusalem ahead of Saturday's outbreak of war.
Photo Credit: The Revd Canon Don Binder / Diocese of Jerusalem

Anglican Diocese of Jerusalemn’s al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza launches emergency appeal

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, has responded to the latest outbreak of hostilities around Gaza with the following statement:

"As I watch the latest developments from Israel and Gaza, I weep for the peoples of the region and pray for peace. In particular, I pray for the safety of all civilians – whether residents or tourists and pilgrims – and I pray for a cessation of violence.

"I also pray for the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Archbishop Hosam Naoum, and other Christian leaders, as they continue to serve their people and work for peace and reconciliation.

"I am in touch with Archbishop Hosam and I want to particularly thank him and his staff for the care they are taking to look after members of the International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD), who are currently meeting in Jerusalem."

ICAOTD is the official international ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Churches in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Emergency appeal for al-Ahli Arab hospital

The Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem runs the al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza. Its director, Suhaila Tarazi, has issued an emergency appeal.

“On 7 October 7 at 6.30 am, the people of Gaza woke up scared, witnessing a horrible situation. They couldn’t figure out what was going on for the first 20 to 30 minutes. Official channels then confirmed that Palestinian militant groups had fired thousands of rockets towards Israel. Clashes occurred in the border towns. Israel's military has since bombed back some targets in the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli government declared it would respond with a huge retaliation against Gaza and Palestinian fighters.

“The situation is severely critical, and the consequences for people in Gaza are very bad, particularly in the health sector. The Ministry of Health has triggered an emergency situation and asked all health-service providers to increase their emergency response capacity. Life in Gaza is paralysed, with all institutions and private sectors closed, affecting the people's access to basic needs, particularly health.

“Governmental hospitals have prioritised emergency cases, deprioritising elective surgeries and non-emergency health cases. According to the catastrophe that has started to affect the deteriorated healthcare system and people living in Gaza, AAH is committed to continuing to provide 24/7 health services for all people in need of medical care.

“The role of AAH could be highly significant in saving lives during emergencies and in eliminating the gap in the healthcare system.

“AAH management has held an internal emergency meeting to discuss the situation, to agree on an AAH response plan, and to identify the required resources to ensure provision of comprehensive healthcare. The team will schedule its technical staff to ensure that the hospital is accessible 24 hours a day.

“In order to ensure that Ahli is able to respond to the increasing need, AAH is in urgent need of medications and other resources for an emergency response. This is an appeal for your generous donations that would greatly support AAH's response, which will positively affect the lives of vulnerable people in Gaza.

“Please pray with us that this wave of violence will be stopped, as there are no winners in wars. All are losers.”

People who wish to respond to the appeal can do so through charities in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA:

Donations from other countries can be made by bank transfer directly to the Diocese of Jerusalem. Donors should contact email [email protected] for details.

Archbishop Hosam Naoum said: “Thank you for your prayers and expressions of support for the safety of our clergy and people in the Diocese of Jerusalem.

“Please circulate this appeal as widely as possible, so that our hospital can be in a position to extend emergency medical services to those casualties caught in the crossfire.

“Thank you once again for your prayers and support, especially in this present, very grave situation.”