Jerusalem prelate warns on plight of Christians
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal, (R) takes part in the traditional Washing of the Feet ceremony during the Holy Thursday mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on April 5, 2012. AFP photoThe Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fuad Twal, warned on Sunday in his Easter homily of the plight of Christians in the region, saying that the world was now "less concerned" about the minority.
"I wish all of you a beautiful and holy feast of the Resurrection, in the knowledge that the events unfolding in the Middle East threaten our region, our people and our Christians, that add a sombreness to this Easter joy," he said.
Twal, the most senior Roman Catholic in the Middle East, evoked the "fear" of Christians in the region in the traditional address, delivered at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City.
Many, he said, "live in fear: fear due to the unrest in our region; fear of an uncertain, even dark future." "Politicians and the international community are a little less concerned about our freedom and our fate. Personal interests overwhelm the goodwill of those trying to seek and advance peace and justice," he added.
Christian communities in the Middle East have come under increasing threat in recent years, and the Arab Spring, which has ushered in more Islamist leadership, has raised new uncertainties for the embattled minority.
Twal, 71, nonetheless saluted "an enthusiastic youth" which he said had "shaken from his feet the dust of a dark, miserable and totalitarian history." "This is a new generation in search of a new life of justice, freedom and dignity; seeking resurrection and reform for its people. The only means of bringing about these changes are strength of will and confidence in a better future," he said.
"We help them through our prayers, our encouragement, our advice to be guided by reason while being faithful to their motherland." Catholic and Protestant Christians celebrate Easter this Sunday, marking the most important date in their religious calendar.
Orthodox Christians, who are more populous in the region, celebrate Easter next Sunday, a day after the spectacular "Holy Fire" ceremony in the Holy Sepulchre church.