Updated 8 December 2017.
Churches have issued statements relating to Donald Trump’s Presidential proclamation on 6 December 2017 recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating the US embassy to Israel to Jerusalem:
Appeal of the Holy Father, Wed 6 Dec 2017:
My thoughts now go to Jerusalem. In this regard I cannot ignore my deep concern about the situation that has arisen in recent days and, at the same time, address a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Places of their respective religions, and the city has a special vocation to peace.
I earnestly pray to the Lord that this identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already convulsed and marked by many cruel conflicts.
Catholic Church in England and Wales
1/2 Today we repeat the prayer of Pope Francis that the unique identity of Jerusalem be preserved and reinforced for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the entire world;
— Cardinal Nichols (@CardinalNichols) December 7, 2017
2/2 that wisdom and prudence prevail to avoid adding new elements of tension in a global panorama already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts.
I fear for Jerusalem and its people today.
I pray for its peace.
— Cardinal Nichols (@CardinalNichols) December 7, 2017
Churches in Jerusalem
The Patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem wrote an open letter to Donald Trump on 6 December 2017:
Dear Mr. President,
We are fully aware and appreciative of how you are dedicating special attention to the status of Jerusalem in these days. We are following with attentiveness and we see that it is our duty to address this letter to Your Excellency. On July 17, 2000, we addressed a similar letter to the leaders who met in Camp David to decide the status of Jerusalem. They kindly took our letter into consideration. Today, Mr. President, we are confident that you too will take our viewpoint into consideration on the very important status of Jerusalem.
Our land is called to be a land of peace. Jerusalem, the city of God, is a city of peace for us and for the world. Unfortunately, though, our holy land with Jerusalem the Holy city, is today a land of conflict.
Those who love Jerusalem have every will to work and make it a land and a city of peace, life and dignity for all its inhabitants. The prayers of all believers in it—the three religions and two peoples who belong to this city—rise to God and ask for peace, as the Psalmist says: “Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see!” (80.14). Inspire our leaders, and fill their minds and hearts with justice and peace.
Mr. President, we have been following, with concern, the reports about the possibility of changing how the United States understands and deals with the status of Jerusalem. We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division. We ask from you Mr. President to help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all.
Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm. We are confident that, with strong support from our friends, Israelis and Palestinians can work towards negotiating a sustainable and just peace, benefiting all who long for the Holy City of Jerusalem to fulfil its destiny. The Holy City can be shared and fully enjoyed once a political process helps liberate the hearts of all people, that live within it, from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing.
Christmas is upon us soon. It is a feast of peace. The Angels have sung in our sky: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to the people of good will. In this coming Christmas, we plea for Jerusalem not to be deprived from peace, we ask you Mr. President to help us listen to the song of the angels. As the Christian leaders of Jerusalem, we invite you to walk with us in hope as we build a just, inclusive peace for all the peoples of this unique and Holy City.
With our best regards, and best wishes for a Merry Christmas.
Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
- +Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
- +Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
- +Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate
- +Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
- +Archbishop Anba Antonious, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
- +Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
- +Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
- +Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
- +Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
- +Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
- +Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
- +Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
- +Msgr. Georges Dankaye’, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia (Lebanon)
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has rejected the US recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. According to Catholicos Aram I, who has emphasised the need to respect the legitimate rights of Palestinians and to preserve the rights of the three monotheistic religions in Jerusalem, such a move may have negative repercussions in a volatile region of the Middle East and may jeopardise the peace process.
See the Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia website.
World Council of Churches (WCC)
Grave concern has been expressed by the WCC over President Trump’s announcement that the United States will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
‘Such a step breaks with the longstanding international consensus, and almost seven decades of established American policy, that the status of Jerusalem remains to be settled’, stated WCC general secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit . ‘It also pre-empts a negotiated resolution of this most difficult issue in any final peace agreement, which must be achieved between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.’
‘The United States must play a pivotal role in encouraging and supporting constructive negotiations between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, if the moribund peace process is to be revived’, stated Tveit. ‘But the imposition of this decision on the status of Jerusalem will only lead to more disillusionment, increased tensions, and diminished hopes.’
For full details see the WCC website.
World Methodist Council (WMC)
‘At this time of social, political, and religious sensitivity around the status of Jerusalem, we express dismay at the announcement of President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, dismissing decades of established American policy and international consensus. Such a move undermines peace-building efforts in the region between the two states’, stated the WMC.
‘The Resolution on Israel and Palestine adopted by the World Methodist Council in 2011 states that member churches should “Work and pray for a just and sustainable peace in Israel in Palestine.” It also references a 2010 report of the Methodist Church in Britain which states: “…it sits uncomfortably with many Methodists to imagine a God who singles out individuals or groups in order to promote possession”, for it seems to conjure up “a notion of favouritism, with an image of God dispossessing some peoples in order to grant land for his chosen ones.”
‘The World Methodist Council joins its voice with The World Council of Churches and other Christian World Communions in urgently calling on the United States Administration to rise boldly to the task of being peace-makers in the global arena. This can only be achieved by supporting and encouraging the negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.’
See the WMC website for the full statement.
World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC)
The WCRC ‘received the statement by President Trump… with great dismay and concern for the peace process that all have been longing for and striving to be fulfilled.
‘The WCRC General Council, meeting this summer in Leipzig, Germany, affirmed that, “with respect to the situation of injustice and suffering that exists in Palestine, and the cry of the Palestinian Christian community, the integrity of Christian faith and praxis is at stake” and committed the WCRC “to seek to strengthen initiatives for dialogues, civil peace services, mediation, conflict prevention and transformation.”
‘This move by the Trump Administration goes against long-established international consensus, codified in actions by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. It reverses decades of US policy. It makes a negotiated peace agreement even more difficult, increases the risk of violence in the area and escalates the threat against Christians there.
‘The way to peace and justice is paved with dialogue, not with provocative declarations. We call on our member churches to speak against any move that brings violence to the Middle East and hinders dialogue.’
The WCRC said it was ‘in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Jerusalem, the Middle East and around the world, we call on the Trump Administration to reconsider its announcement to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel’.
See the WCRC website for the full statement.
Church of England
The status quo of the City of Jerusalem is one of the few stable elements of hope for peace and reconciliation for Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Holy Lands. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
— Justin Welby ن (@JustinWelby) December 6, 2017
Methodist Church in Britain
The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference have released the following statement regarding Jerusalem:
The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem this week wrote to President Donald Trump, saying that their “solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognising the present international status of Jerusalem”. We share the profound concerns expressed in that letter. The unilateral action of the United States government over Jerusalem makes the path to a negotiated settlement less clear.
The Methodist Church has previously said that Jerusalem’s special status as “a place for two nations and three faiths is the real basis upon which trust could be built up among the different communities”. We believe that a lasting peace can only be based on trust, security and freedom from fear for all people. We offer prayers for the people of Palestine and Israel, for Jew, Muslim and Christian, echoing the Psalmist as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
See the Methodist Church website.
Quakers in Britain
The Quakers in Britain have condemned US recognition of Jerusalem.
‘East Jerusalem is recognised internationally as occupied Palestinian territory, with over fifteen UN Security Council Resolutions affirming this since the occupation of Palestine began in 1967. We join with others around the world, including Pope Francis and the British government, in voicing our deep concern at President Trump’s announcement. We find his actions to be morally indefensible because they are deliberately provocative and against international law’, commented Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain.
‘Our desire would be to see actions which reduce the likelihood of violence and enhance chances for a just peace with dignity and security for all. We believe President Trump’s decision instead gives legitimacy to the widespread human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government in the course of its 50-year occupation of Palestine, including the illegal acquisition of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
‘We call on President Trump to reconsider his destabilising actions. We urge the British government to accept its historic and current responsibility towards peace in the Middle East and to take immediate steps to recognise the state of Palestine in the same way as it recognises the state of Israel.
‘We thank those working for a just peace in extremely difficult circumstances and attempting to relieve tensions internationally. We stand with those calling for the status of Jerusalem to be determined only as part of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.’
See the Quakers in Britain website for full details.