The Churches in Scotland, alongside Christian Aid and the Iona Community are delighted to welcome Archbishop Theodosius, from the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, to Scotland. At a meeting hosted by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Archbishop shared his frustration and pain over the current situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, and emphasised that the present violence is a symptom of the 47 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people and their land.
The Archbishop emphasised his commitment to non-violent means of transforming the Holy Land into a place where people of all faiths and none might live side by side in harmony, but said that, “until the occupation is ended, how can real progress towards such a peace begin to be achieved.” He called on people of goodwill to put pressure on the international community to be proactive in pressing for an immediate ceasefire to prevent any further deaths of innocent civilians.
Encouraging people to read the Kairos Palestine document, Archbishop Theodosius echoed its sentiments: “we are not optimistic, but our hope remains strong,” he said, “please encourage the people of Scotland to engage with Kairos Palestine and to pray for the people of Palestine and to use all possible peaceful means to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis facing our people under occupation.”
Those present shared the Archbishop’s deep concern that the current violence is undermining the chances of achieving an end to the Israeli occupation and a just peace. The Moderator, the Rt Rev John Chalmers said, “Those of us present could not help but feel that the situation facing the Palestinian people was deteriorating rather than improving. Violence on violence is not the way to resolve the situation facing the Palestinian people and the citizens of Israel. To an outside observer, the disproportionate response of the State of Israel appears set to leave a legacy of hurt, pain and resentment which do not create the conditions in which a peaceful and just resolution can be sought.”
The Rev Peter Macdonald, leader of the Iona Community said, “the Kairos Palestine document is rightly entitled a ‘A Moment of Truth’ and I would endorse the Archbishop’s plea that people should read it, study it and apply it. The situation in the Occupied Territory is a human rights tragedy that cannot continue to be ignored.”
All of those present from the Churches and from Christian Aid assured the Archbishop of the continuing prayers and support of Christians in Scotland.
Archbishop Theodosius of Sebastia will be in Scotland throughout this week and can be heard speaking at:
Wednesday 16th July – 7.30pm – Public meeting in Dundee, Marryat Hall, City Square, DD1 3BB
Saturday 19th July – 5pm – Public meeting in Glasgow, Adelaides, 209 Bath St, G2 4HZ
Sunday 20th July – 5pm Service with Orthodox community, Edinburgh Augustine Church, George IV Bridge EH1 1EL
The Kairos Palestine document can be found at: http://www.kairospalestine.ps