Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

The MP's problem with seizure of its own properties

Expand Messages
  • Fr David Straut
    ISRAELI SERVICEMEN HOLD THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HOUSE FOR PILGRIMS Communication service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      ISRAELI SERVICEMEN HOLD THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HOUSE FOR PILGRIMS
      Communication service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate
      The Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem informs about the development of the situation with the House for Pilgrims of the Russian Orthodox Church in Bethlehem occupied by the Israeli servicemen on
      April 2. According to this information, dozens of soldiers still held the building in the morning of April 3. The demands of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission and the Russian Embassy to vacate the building have been ignored by the Israeli side, which said that the soldiers will leave the House for Pilgrims after the military operation in the city is completed. However, nobody knows how long the current military confrontation will continue. According to the news, which reached the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, the Israeli soldiers have taken up positions on the floors and the roof of the building.
      Bethlehem is completely blocked by tanks and armoured vehicles. Civilians cannot enter the city or leave it. This ban concerns also the ministers of the Church and the staff of the consulates. No response has been given to the request of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission to issue its representative a pass for entering Bethlehem and secure him a safe access to the Russian plot of land.
      Four persons, who guarded the House for Pilgrims and the plot of land, remain in the building, among them a woman with two young children: a boy of one year and a half and a girl of three. There is no baby food and necessary clothes to change. These people are deprived of normal living conditions. The soldiers once permitted them to contact their relatives, but since then no telephone calls have been allowed.
      All this imperils the life and safety of the civilians and jeopardizes the church property, which is there to serve the believers who come to the city of the Nativity of Christ as pilgrims.


      THE ISRAELI TROOPS IN BETHLEHEM SEIZED THE BUILDING, WHICH BELONGS TO THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
      Communication service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate
      On April 2 His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia sent letters to President Moshe Katsav and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel concerning the morning seizure of the territory and the building, which belong to the Russian Orthodox Church and are located near the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem.
      The letter says: 'We in the Russian Orthodox Church were deeply concerned with the occupation by the Israeli troops of the territory, which belongs to our Church near the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem, where the House for Pilgrims is located. We have learnt that military equipment is being installed there.
      The Russian Orthodox Church has persistently come forward for peace in the Middle East, mourns for all victims of the aggravated confrontation and calls upon the parties to stop the bloodshed. We have repeatedly addressed peace proposals both to the Government of Israel and to the leaders of the Palestinian National Autonomy. Unfortunately, the recent actions of the Israeli troops undermine peace mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and indirectly involve it in the conflict, as the plot of land and the building which our Church owns are being prepared for use in military actions.
      The Moscow Patriarchate considers it inadmissible to use in any military actions the territories and buildings of religious organizations, which are called to preach peace.
      In connection with the aforementioned, the Russian Orthodox Church voices its vigorous protest and demands an immediate withdrawal of the troops from the territory, which it owns'.
      His Holiness the Patriarch sent letters to the RF President V.Putin, the US President G.Bush and the UN Secretary General K.Annan with a request for promoting the solution of this urgent problem.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.