A message from the Primate for Jerusalem Sunday

This letter in PDF format

On the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Anglican Church of Canada is invited to intentionally pray for Jerusalem. We enjoy a longstanding partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in friendship with its bishops, clergy and people as they seek to live the gospel. Many Canadian Anglicans have visited the Holy Land and worshipped with our friends in Jerusalem.

Today (May 13th) we celebrated with them as Archbishop Hosam Naoum was installed as diocesan bishop in the presence of so many family, friends and Christian partners. Our prayers are lifted for the Archbishop and his family as he begins this new ministry.

However, we know he begins that ministry in the midst of escalating violence that is taking the lives of women, men and children. Simmering anger over proposed evictions of Palestinians in east Jerusalem and the delay in a Supreme Court judgement on their legality heightened tensions as Israeli police attacked worshippers at the al Aqsa mosque during prayers. Now rockets from both sides rain down bringing more pain and frustration.

Jewish pilgrims climbing towards Jerusalem or into the Temple would recite the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). Today—whether seeking to pray at the site of the Temple or at the mosque or at any of the Christian holy places—surely our prayer must also be with the Psalmist:

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.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
(Psalm 122:6-9)

To seek the prosperity of Jerusalem is to seek a just and lasting peace that recognizes the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis—Christians, Jews and Muslims—in this land. In 2010 and again in 2013, General Synod Resolutions reiterated the commitments of our Church, including that we:

  1. Call for a comprehensive and lasting peace with justice in Palestine and Israel
  2. Recognize the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of Israelis and Palestinians to live within sovereign and secure borders
  3. Condemn the use of violence of all kinds, especially against civilians
  4. Request the implementation of UN resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 194 (1948)
  5. Call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories and the end of illegal Israeli settlements
  6. Call Israel, as an occupying power, to respect the 4th Geneva Convention
  7. Request measures by the Palestinian Authority to reduce poverty and unemployment, and to improve services to Palestinians
  8. Recognize the city of Jerusalem as a shared holy place for Christians, Muslims and Jews
  9. Recognize the need for trade between Palestine and Canada

We are grateful for the recent call of Prime Minister Trudeau for a de-escalation of the violence between Israel and Gaza, and his concern for the proposed evictions in Jerusalem. We trust that the government of Canada will work with international partners in efforts for peace and justice.

The city of Jerusalem is an icon of our human capacity, or incapacity, to live together in peace for the prosperity of all and the common good. We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem for in that peace will be seeds for the peace of the world.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem……

+Linda Nicholls

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate

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