His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Patriarch of Jerusalem Honored in Atlanta, Georgia “Peace with Justice is the Only Answer to the Violence in Palestine” The Archbishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem, Patriarch, Michel Sabbah, was honored by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation banquet attended by over 350 people on Friday night, hosted by the Peachtree Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, Georgia.
His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Patriarch of Jerusalem Honored in Atlanta, Georgia
“Peace with Justice is the Only Answer to the Violence in Palestine”
The Archbishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem, Patriarch, Michel Sabbah, was honored by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation banquet attended by over 350 people on Friday night, hosted by the Peachtree Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, Georgia. Patriarch Sabbah was in Atlanta to attend the United States Bishop’s Conference and addressed the conference on June 14, 2001. His remarks to the bishops were his reflections on the conflict in the Holy Land and the suffering of the indigenous Christians caused by military occupation of their homeland.
Patriarch Sabbah spoke about the violence and the need to stop the violence and remove the causes of the violence. The cause of the violence, the Patriarch pointed out, is the military occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza. Until justice prevails and the Palestinians live in their own state as promised by the Madrid and Oslo agreements, Palestinian humiliation and frustration caused by military siege will be expressed through violence. Any force mounted by the Israelis to put down the violence will not end the violence but will only stimulate more violence. “Peace with justice is the only answer to the violence in Palestine.” said the Patriarch.
Rateb Rabie, KHS, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, welcomed the Patriarch and offered remarks about HCEF and its mission to bring succor to the Christians of the Holy Land who are suffering under siege conditions and almost daily bombardment in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Mr. Rabie quoted Pope John Paul II when he said during his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, “Do not be afraid to preserve your Christian heritage in the land of our Savior’s birth.”
Reverend John F. Donoghue, KHS, Archbishop of Atlanta, in welcoming the Patriarch spoke about the Christians of the Holy Land and need to remember that they were the very first to follow Christ. They established an unbroken lineage of faith in Christ from the Pentecost to the present. We must not forget this treasure of faithful Christians in their time of need as they suffer deprivation, humiliation and bombardment under siege in their homeland. The Archbishop committed the solidarity of his own churches and the 300,000 Catholics of North Georgia and to do everything he could to make the goals and aspirations of HCEF better known and more passionately supported in his archdiocese.
Reverend Victor Pentz welcomed the Patriarch and talked of the important things that Palestinian Christians would want us to know about them. He said that first of all, Palestinian Christians were the first Christians, that they are suffering at this moment because they are part of the fabric of culture that exists in Palestine. We owe these Christians a debt of gratitude for preserving Christianity for 2000 years in the land of its birth despite the Roman persecutions, the Islamic invasion of the Holy Land, the Ottoman Empire and its transgressions, the British mandate and finally the establishment of the Israeli State in 1947. Finally, he warned us not to forget them for they feel at the moment that none in the West are aware of their wretched condition under siege and assault.
Sir Duane Burchick, KHS, a member of the recent HCEF fact-finding mission to the Holy Land presented a slide show about the mission’s findings. The photos gave ample evidence in very clear terms of the present brutal siege of Christian towns and villages and the impact that the military siege has had on Christian people, their homes and society. The audience of 350 people was stunned by the images on the screen.
Also in attendance was Rev. Rebecca Burton, Minister of Missions, Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Master of Ceremonies; Rev. Fr. Joseph Samaan, Pastor, St. Elias Antiochan Orthodox Church, who gave the invocation; Rev. Margaret Rose, Rector, St. Dunsdan’s Episcopal Church, who gave a prayer for Peace and Justice in the Middle East; Rev. Fr. John Azar, Pastor, St. John Chrysostom Melkite Catholic Church, who gave the benediction.
* The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation is a tax exempt 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of Christians in the Holy Land by developing bonds of solidarity with Christians in the United States. HCEF, PO Box 6687, Silver Spring, MD 20906. (301) 871-9222, Fax (301) 871-2277. www.hcef.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org