In an annual tradition, Thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have issued the following hopeful Easter message this year highlighting the importance of peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land:
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, bring joyous greetings in the name of our risen Lord from the city of the Resurrection. It is from the heart of this city that the first Easter proclamation was made. Christ is risen from the dead! It was also from the heights of Jerusalem that Jesus commissioned his disciples to take this good news to the very ends of the earth.
Here in the Holy City it is our tradition, our privilege and our call to share the good news about our risen Lord with the whole human family – and especially with those who are living under oppression, violence, displacement, occupation, injustice or other kinds of human suffering. We pray that the power of the Resurrection may prevail in the midst of all human agonies and that the light which shines from the Empty Tomb may inspire endurance, perseverance and hope that victory will eventually come, so that all people may enjoy the fullness of life of which the Resurrection is itself the foretaste and promise.
When our Saviour died on Good Friday it seemed to his disciples as if their world had come to an end. The raising of Jesus from the dead by the power of God the Father on the first Easter morning was the ultimate assurance that transformation by the grace of God is always possible, even in the apparently most intractable of human situations. Here in the Middle East we are acutely conscious of the ravages of violence in places such as Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, as well as of the struggles of countless thousands of refugees who have been displaced from their homes. We are thankful for all the Churches and Church related organisations that are providing support, which is greatly appreciated.
We call upon all Christian people, people of other faiths and in fact all people of goodwill – to pray earnestly for a good outcome from the current Peace Process in the Holy Land, conformity with International law and indeed for peace throughout our troubled world. Despite the acute difficulties of the current situation, we would urge all parties to seize this moment of historic opportunity. A peace which does not seek to abolish discrimination between different communities is no peace at all. For peace to be real, it must embrace justice and a desire for reconciliation. Reconciliation between God and humanity, and between people who are opposed to one another, springs from the Cross and is vindicated by the Resurrection.
May this Easter season bring joy and peace to all people.
Christ is risen: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarchate
+Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
+Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
+Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
+Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Aba Daniel, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
+Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
+Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
+Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
+Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate