Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008

Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008

Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008

Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008

Synopsis

On January 22, 1988, Jerusalem Heads of Churches issued a public statement on the situation of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land in reaction to the first Intifada. Over the next twenty years, they issued 67 more remarkable statements of common witness from this conflicted land. / In Jerusalem Testament these statements are -- for the first time -- collected and presented as a body of texts. Melanie May assembles them into a testament that bears witness to: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the faith and hope of Palestinian Christians, and the faith of the Church anew, incarnate in the lives of Christians living in the land of Jesus' birth, death, resurrection and ascension. / Each chapter begins by setting the context of the particular era -- the first and second Intifadas, the Oslo Accords -- followed by the statements themselves. / This unprecedented gathering calls Christians worldwide to a new covenant with brothers and sisters in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Excerpt

On 22 January 1988, the Jerusalem Heads of Churches issued the first of what would, by 22 January, 2008, be sixty-eight joint public statements on the situation of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land, and especially in the Holy City, Jerusalem. These twenty years began with the outbreak of the first Intifada and ended with the siege of Gaza. Life amid such relentless conflict often rends communities asunder. These statements of common witness by the Heads of Christian Communities in Jerusalem are, therefore, all the more remarkable. Living under Israeli occupation — suffering deprivation, harassment, restriction of movement, surveillance — Christians in Jerusalem, for the first time in centuries, bear a common witness to their faith and to their hope: an end to occupation and a just peace.

Accordingly, these statements by the Jerusalem Heads of Churches are addressed to “our people.” Statements were read aloud in worship services and posted in church halls. But the Jerusalem Heads of Churches also spoke as representatives of “our people,” and addressed presidents and prime ministers, and also appealed to the worldwide Christian and international communities: “We, the Heads of the Christian Communities in the Holy City, have met together in view of the grave situation prevailing in Jerusalem and the whole of our country. It is our Christian conviction that as Spiritual Leaders we have an urgent duty to follow up the developments of this situation and to make known to the world the conditions of life of our people here in the Holy Land.” the act of issuing these statements was, therefore, both a pastoral and a political act.

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