Patriarch Theophilos III, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, has condemned an arson attack made on the Church of Gethsemane last Friday.
According to Christian Today, a 49-year-old Israeli man was arrested by Israeli police in connection with Friday’s attack.
According to a statement made by PLO Department of Public Diplomacy & Policy on Twitter, “An Israeli settler poured gasoline and started a fire in the #Gethsemane Church in #Jerusalem.”
“The attack was thwarted by 3 #Palestinian #heroes; a Church guard and 2 other residents who were nearby.”
An abominable terrorist attack: An Israeli settler poured gasoline and started a fire in the #Gethsemane Church in #Jerusalem. The attack was thwarted by 3 #Palestinian #heroes; a Church guard and 2 other residents who were nearby. pic.twitter.com/KmkUnSFCVy— PLO Department of Public Diplomacy & Policy (@PalestinePDP) December 4, 2020
Theophilos claimed that the attack was "a crime inspired by an extreme ideology that seeks to drive Christians from the Holy Land.”
"I call on the international community to take its role in protecting Christian shrines, and preserving the indigenous Christian presence in the Holy Land," Theophilos stressed.
"This attack at a site of great significance to Christians worldwide reveals the threat that radical groups pose."
The arson attack was "a crime that shouldn't happen in a church in the Holy Land," said Fr. Ibrahim from the Custody of the Holy Land.
Steve Double MP, the chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), said the attack “at a site of great significance to Christians worldwide reveals the threat that radical groups pose.”
"Incidents like this demonstrate why we have established a new APPG on Christianity in the Holy Land to help ensure it remains a place where Christians can continue to live, flourish and thrive," he continued.
The arson attack was also condemned by members of the Jewish community.
"We deplore this attack on a Christian Holy Site in Jerusalem,” Lord Howard of Lympne said. He served as a former Conservative Party leader and a trustee of the Council of Christians and Jews.
“Jewish people around the world stand in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters wherever they face persecution because of their faith,” he continued.
Anita Delhaas, Chief Executive of the International Community of the Holy Sepulchre also chimed in, asserting, "More than ever, Holy Land Christians need friends, supporters and advocates in Europe and America to speak up and take action to prevent incidents like this from happening in the first place.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Adél Békefi
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.