Patriarch of Jerusalem calls to focus more on spiritual meaning of Christmas, no unnecessary festive activities

Jerusalem, November 13, 2023

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As the war continues in the Holy Land, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem and the heads of other churches in Jerusalem are calling on their clergy and flocks to celebrate a more subdued Christmas this year, especially focused on the spiritual meaning.

The Patriarch and other heads issued a statement on Friday noting that the Christian communities in the Holy Land typically “take great delight in their preparations for the commemoration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” including, besides Church services, public festivities and decorations.

“But these are not normal times,” the statement continues. Thousands of innocent civilians have been injured or killed, and many have lost everything. “Yet despite our repeated calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence, the war continues.”

Pat. Theophilos and the other heads of churches thus call upon their “congregations to stand strong with those facing such afflictions by this year foregoing any unnecessary festive activities,” and encourage their “priests and faithful to focus more on the spiritual meaning of Christian” during this period, with fervent prayers for peace in the Holy Land.

Read the full statement below:



To help those suffering in Gaza, please consider donating through the Holy Order of St. George’s Gaza fundraising campaign:

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