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  • » 03/19/2008, 00.00


    The patriarch of Jerusalem leaves his post and calls for peace

    Archbishop Michel Sabbah leaves his post as Latin patriarch of Jerusalem after 20 years, and releases an Easter message, calling for peace and reconciliation the Holy Land.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Archbishop Michel Sabbah, elected Latin patriarch of Jerusalem in 1988, is resigning today, on his 75th birthday.

    Originally from Nazareth, Archbishop Sabbah was the first Palestinian to become head of the patriarchate of Jerusalem.  The patriarch holds a number of offices - among others, he is president of the assembly of Catholic bishops for the Holy Land, and of the Latin bishops' conference in the region, and is also prior of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

    Archbishop Sabbah guided the Latin Church through periods of ferment and violence, becoming a pastor for the community of faithful that today numbers about 75,000 Catholics dispersed throughout the Israeli and Palestinian territories.  He is succeeded by Archbishop Fouad Twal, an expert in diplomacy who, at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI, has worked beside Archbishop Sabbah since 2005.

    In his last Easter message to the Catholic community, Archbishop Sabbah said: "I pray that God may infuse the joy and hope of the resurrection within you.  We live in the Holy Land, a land of revelation, redemption, and reconciliation among peoples and with God.  Unfortunately, this land is stained with blood, and ignores its own vocation".

    From the Holy Land, called to be a place of peace, Archbishop Sabbah remembers the dead of the Gaza Strip, those who lost their lives in the attack on the Jewish school in Jerusalem, and cites also the deceased archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, a victim of the daily violence in Iraq.

    "After more than a century, events demonstrate that violence has failed", Archbishop Sabbah continues, "and both the Palestinians and the Israelis must understand that weapons no longer protect the people, but expose them to fear and insecurity.  It is time to learn the lesson that history teaches us; it is time for each people and each individual to accept the call of God to build up society, and not to destroy it.  Because violence can only destroy, and can never build".

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    See also

    21/12/2006 HOLY LAND
    The peace that Christmas announces lies in a rapprochement between the two peoples, says Mgr Sabbah
    In his message, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem laments the endless violence, injustice and occupation. Bethlehem “lives in conditions of death, with the wall, and conflict in the land and in the hearts”. The future lies in coexistence, not separation, between Israelis and Palestinians.

    21/12/2005 HOLY LAND
    Hopes for peace in Mgr Sabbah's Christmas message
    The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem reminds Palestinians and Israelis that "God did not create you to fear or kill each other, but to love one another". From both sides there are new signs and developments. "Our Holy Land thirsts to recover its peace and holiness."

    11/04/2006 HOLY LAND
    Mgr Sabbah calls on Israelis and Palestinians to stop hatred
    In his Easter message, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem calls on the leaders of the two peoples to transform "in terms of life and peace the relations between the two peoples in this Holy Land."

    21/06/2008 VATICAN - HOLY LAND
    Archbishop Fouad Twal is the new Latin patriarch of Jerusalem
    The pope has accepted the resignation presented by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, with whom Archishop Twal has been coadjutor since 2005.

    16/01/2009 HOLY LAND
    Archbishop Twal: war continues, and no one has courage for peace
    The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem tells AsiaNews: "We are all responsible." More than a billion dollars will be required for reconstruction, but the real problem is that of healing "the wounds that the war has opened in the hearts of the people." In the face of death and destruction, it is not possible to think of "advancing from one process to another, never leading to peace."

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