Thursday, June 27, 2013

Archbishop Justin prays at Israel's Yad Vashem

"This is not a place for words but for tears and remembering," said the Archbishop of Canterbury, as he paid his respects at Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the millions of Jews who died in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem is a phrase from Book of Isaiah: 'Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name (Hebrew: יָדושֵם) better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off' (Isaiah 56:5).

Archbishop Justin is touring the Holy Land and surrounding countries, expressing solidarity with all who strive for peace. In Egypt he assured both Christians and Muslims that all who strive for peace and reconciliation in the region 'are not forgotten'.

In Cairo the Archbishop met with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the head of Coptic Orthodox Church, and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb, among other leaders. Visiting Egypt at the invitation of the Most Rev'd Mouneer Anis, President Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Archbishop told Egyptian Christian leaders that 'the prayers and solidarity of the Anglican Communion' are with them.

Archbishop Justin was pleased to hear from the Pope and his colleagues how, since the Pope’s inauguration, the Coptic Church is responding to the challenges in contemporary Egyptian life. He offered his support for the new council of churches in Egypt, which draws together the strength and vision of all the Churches.

Pope Tawadros said: “We must build our dialogue and studies on love and crown them with prayers; we must also prepare our people to love, accept and work with each other in the spirit of unity found in John 17,” which contains Jesus’ prayer that his disciples may all be one.

Following what he called a 'warm and joyful meeting', Archbishop Justin said: “We had a very wide-ranging discussion, coming back several times to the question of how the Church can flourish and grow in prayer, in love for one another and in teaching of the scriptures to our contemporaries. It’s important that we find a way of enabling our affection for one another to be transformed into effective shared witness.”

The Archbishop also met with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheik Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb in Cairo, Egypt, in which they affirmed the importance of the ongoing dialogue between the Anglican Communion and Al-Azhar at such a critical time for Egypt and the wider region. Archbishop Justin expressed his appreciation for the way in which the Grand Imam and Al-Azhar have spoken up for rights of all the people of Egypt. He later said that the Grand Imam 'is someone whose heart is committed to the work he does in interfaith dialogue – which he’s extremely good at – and a deep concern for all the people of the region, whatever their background'.

Prayers and warm words are one thing. But the reality is that Christians are being systematically cleansed from the Middle East - including the Holy Land - by those whom we call Islamists but who call themselves Muslims. Dialogue and understanding are crucial for resolution, but, as the Archbishop noted in a recent tweet, there is 'little sign of hope' unless 'leaders have power of love not love for power'.

Yad Vashem and the Wailing Wall are perpetual reminders of thousands of years of Jewish persecution, suffering and death. Unless hearts can be changed and minds can be turned from the belief that Christians are less than pigs, we can surely expect another holocaust.

"Only our shared humanity is the way to peace," says Archbishop Justin. Finding ways of living together after the 'great traumas and tragedies of so many years' is 'a huge challenge'. "But there is no other way than finding each others’ humanity, recognising it, and seeing in it the image of God,” he added.

The key to peace is Jesus, who demands justice, which requires security for all the people of the region. We can talk about harmony and acceptance, and pray for affirmation and reconciliation. But ultimately the solution must be political: people have to decide and act. As Martin Luther King Jr said, "Peace is not kept by force, but by understanding. It is manifest through compassion, where the power of love is the greater than the love of power."

The key is indeed the power of love. Archbishop Justin is right to observe:
As a small but strong presence here in Jerusalem and the region, the Anglican Church has a profound and important role to play. Our embrace of God in Jesus Christ allows us to serve both the divine and the human in equality important ways. God is both transcendent and immanent in our understanding of the holy. And we are rightly dedicated to the glorifying of God and serving of humanity. Our rightful place in the temple is balanced with our rightful place in the city square. Since 1841, the Diocese of Jerusalem has glorified God and borne witness to the love of God for all people through our institutions of learning and healthcare. For more than 160 years Anglican presence in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East has been an extraordinary force for good. And more importantly, we are merely at the beginning of a bright future – capable of even greater and more effective ministry in all these important areas, including peace and reconciliation.


Blogger John Thomas said...

"Yad Vashem and the Wailing Wall are perpetual reminders of thousands of years of Jewish persecution, suffering and death" (Abp C) - indeed, but if there was no Israel, these places would not exist. Those who would obliterate (or at least remove) Israel are not just Islamist fanatics in Iran, etc., but also a few middle class "liberal" white westerners ... even - dare I say it - some church-goers ...

27 June 2013 at 12:36  
Blogger LEN said...

'The key to peace is Jesus,'...indeed this is so.
Jesus made the possibility of peace between a Holy God and His fallen Creation.

However 'the fallen' creation cannot agree within themselves upon

1 Whether God actually exists.
2 Whether Jesus is God.
3 Whether Mohammed is God`s 'last revelation'.
4 Whether 'all paths' all religions lead to God.
5 Whether man can by science and reason create' a better World'.

Until all people can grasp the essential truth about Jesus Christ then all these above factors will cause ongoing problems.
Man has had thousands of years to rule this Planet and has come up with no lasting solution to the problems besetting him.
That time may be coming to a close where God`s solution[The Rule and reign of Jesus Christ] will be put into effect.

27 June 2013 at 12:38  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

we can surely expect another holocaust

Following the murder of a Franciscan in a monastery near Homs in Syria, a spokesman for the Franciscans said: ‘I would like all the world to know that in supporting the revolutionaries, the West is supporting religious extremists and helping them kill Christians. With this attitude, there will not be a single Christian left in these areas.’ His statement is in the second paragraph of this French news report.

A holocaust that the West is facilitating.

27 June 2013 at 14:40  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Totally agree JR

27 June 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger Masrek Rollin said...

It is a scandal that UK government is siding with the persecutors of Christians and Jews. They have no conscience, no shame.
England is weak and corrupt.

27 June 2013 at 16:51  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Words fail me when I watch these so called "liberal" western politicians blunder about, causing great harm, in regions whose complex cultures and various religious groupings they will never grasp. Presumably The Foreign Office, now focussed on the EU, no longer contains any Arabists with the knowledge and understanding to advise the politicians to tread more carefully ? It is increasingly difficult to be proud of ones country.

27 June 2013 at 17:16  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Funny, but as I spend a part of my time in France I attend Mass from time to time.

What surprised and pleased me was that the priest often informs the congregation of the persecutions (mainly experienced in Islamic countries - obviously) and asks for prayers and support.

I wonder how often that happens in UK churches - of any denomination?

27 June 2013 at 17:19  
Blogger John Thomas said...

Len, some religious believers would hold that God's "last" (latest?) revelation came by way of the Ba'halula (however it is spelled), or Joseph Smith, in the 19th century. They might be right. Why single out Mohammed?

27 June 2013 at 18:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Poor blighter. Having to meet that Islamic shower of whatever. No doubt they smiled and imagined him on the end of a scimitar. Talking didn’t work with the NAZIs, why does anyone think muslims are any different. This kind of dross is the ugly side of being Primate of all England, what !

'warm and joyful meeting' my arse…

A more robust attitude was needed. To wit, “we know what you are doing to the Copts, and unless YOU people stop it, it will be the worse for you all. I’ll see to that – by Christ I will”

27 June 2013 at 18:36  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

An article published on the Gatehouse Institute website says that:

● On the 26th January 2011, the Egyptian theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for President Mubarak to resign. On the 29th January, President Obama told Mubarak to go.
● On the 21st February 2011, al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa for Colonel Gaddafi’s death. Soon afterwards, Obama authorized support for the rebel forces in Libya.
● On the 9th June 2013, al-Qaradawi called for a jihad against President Assad. On the 14th June, Obama authorized military aid to the Syrian rebels.

● The Daily Mail reports that al-Qaradawi’s deputy met officials of the National Security Council in Washington on the 13th June.

Obama clears the way for Islam by undermining secular government. In turn, Islam cleanses the Middle East of Christians. An odd way for a Christian president to behave.

27 June 2013 at 18:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

Hmmm, JR @ 18.44, you wouldn't be inferring that Obummer isn't the Christian gentleman that he would like us to believe, would you?

27 June 2013 at 19:20  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ bluedog—Well...

27 June 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger bluedog said...

Three times, eh, JR?

Let me think; the first time it's happenstance, the second time it's circumstance, the third time it's enemy action.

Isn't that how it goes?


27 June 2013 at 19:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

3 strikes and you’re out, bluedog.

27 June 2013 at 20:18  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

I was wondering for a while where I had seen Justin Welby before or what he reminded me of.

Mr Anderson .... "The Matrix"

"Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

Yep, that about sums up society in 2013


27 June 2013 at 20:49  
Blogger Nick said...

It is a pity that Whelby did not use this trip as an opportunity to speak up for his own flock. Instead of having jolly meetings he could have been condemning the persecution of all religious groups including Christians in the region. He could also have spoken out against those Governments, including the British Government, that sponsors and encourages persecution of Christian groups.

Instead we get a lot of polite pap that reinforces the image of the Anglican church as weak, unwilling to criticise, and not rooted in God.

27 June 2013 at 20:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

the image of the Anglican church as weak, unwilling to criticise, and not rooted in God.

Steady on Nick. Our host no doubt wishes to be an Anglican when he dies. You’re not making it any easier for him, you know !

27 June 2013 at 21:06  
Blogger Peter D said...


We'll it'd certainly increase the safety and security of Christians in the region going in and winding the Islamists up!


Has Justin Welby access to a secret army or are you suggesting sending a Crusade of volunteers be dispatched to the region? I don't think indulgences can be offered as an incentive these days.

27 June 2013 at 21:12  
Blogger Nick said...


When I refer to the Anglican Church, I am not including present company, as I think we have honest and forthright debates on this blog

But I make no apology for saying that Anglicans, and especially their leaders, could speak up more for what they are supposed to believe in.

The way things are going in our "modern" society, standing up for our beliefs might determine whether we become extinct or not.

27 June 2013 at 21:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nick. Point taken. If only Cranmer was typical of the Anglican faith, but one suspects the bishops are not too keen to leave the comfort of their palaces...

Peter D. Welby had a ‘warm and joyful’ meeting with the leaders of an organisation that gasses Jews. Well, not quite, but an organisation that persecutes Christians. Would YOU have had a ‘warm and joyful’ meeting with them ?

27 June 2013 at 22:12  
Blogger Peter D said...



As I read it, the "warm and joyful" meeting was with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church!

After the meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Justin Welby said that the Grand Imam "is someone whose heart is committed to the work he does in interfaith dialogue – which he’s extremely good at – and a deep concern for all the people of the region, whatever their background".

Are you saying this assessment is incorrect?

27 June 2013 at 23:36  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...


Apologies for tangenting, but given our recent exchanges, I saw this piece of local news and thought you might be interested as it (on the surface at least) ticks a number of the concerns you expressed regarding social justice and Christian action.

28 June 2013 at 00:54  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Well, we can only pray that Archbishop Welby, who is of Jewish heritage, guides the Church of England to a more sympathetic and tactful, if not supportive, approach to Israel than the way his predecessor dealt with these issues when he made a comparison of Israel with concentration camps...

28 June 2013 at 00:56  
Blogger David Hussell said...

As a factual matter, ++Welby is doing at least two things at the moment. Firstly emerging on the world stage as the A of C , and secondly at HQ, slimming the overlarge central support team whilst putting his own right hand people in it. Our own Diocesan Bishop has been asked to become one such person and is therefore leaving us. So no complaints there. I would however have preferred a more spirited defense of marriage in his Lord's speech which was far too diplomatic and polite. However The Lords seems to have a language and protocol of its own, so maybe I am overlooking those practices. Certainly sterling work is now proceeding in that house to try to build in the necessary freedoms for traditionalist understandings of marriage to be expressed verbally, publicly and professionally.
So as far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on whether Justin Welby, is an effective champion for Christianity. He has barely made a start.

28 June 2013 at 08:42  
Blogger LEN said...

John Thomas ... 'why single out Mohammed'(as being God`s 'last revelation to man?)

Well.... I was doing this in respect of His Grace`s article regarding "Prayers and warm words are one thing. But the reality is that Christians are being systematically cleansed from the Middle East - including the Holy Land - by those whom we call Islamists but who call themselves Muslims".

I am aware that their are a considerable amount of men who have had' revelations from God' and have carried out these 'revelations' to sad and tragic conclusions in most cases.

But the case under discussion is the ethnic cleansing of Christians by Muslims hence the referral to Islam. The Qur'an states "Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to to one another, but ruthless to unbelievers" Surah 48:29.

"Kill the Mushrikun (unbelievers)
wherever you find them, and capture them
and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush..."
Surah 9:5. Also
Surah 9:29:
: "Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture (Christians & Jews) as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low."

About 578 years before Islam came along, Christians were warned against Islam by both Jesus and the Apostle Paul.
Jesus warned us about the many false prophets who would follow Him (Matthew 16:11-12) .The Apostle Paul warned us when he wrote:
“But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a Gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!” (Galatians 1:8).

28 June 2013 at 09:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. Holds hands up. The warm and joyous meeting was indeed with the Coptic Pope.

It’s this business here: He later said that the Grand Imam 'is someone whose heart is committed to the work he does in interfaith dialogue – which he’s extremely good at – and a deep concern for all the people of the region, whatever their background'.

One wonders if the Grand Imam loses any sleep at night over the plight of the Copts. Probably not, but ++Welby could always write to the man and inquire on his return to Lambeth to confirm…

28 June 2013 at 17:42  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


Very interesting thanks

So what exactly do they plan to do with 97 acres? They say they are going to build a church and a village. is this a sort of gated Christian community idea?


28 June 2013 at 19:09  
Blogger Peter D said...


Well he could I suppose, although one rather suspects Justin Welby asked him face to face. I may not agree with Welby's theology but I do believe he is has keen political awareness. That said, he did rather let the side down during the homosexual 'marriage' debate in the Lords and his cosy chat with Thatchell.

I do take your point about straight talking but one has to weigh the benefits of sabre rattling against the risks to Christians in the region.

I'm waiting for a Church leader to emulate Saint Francis and go into the 'heart of darkness' and visit Iran.

28 June 2013 at 21:42  
Blogger LEN said...

The Reverend Canon Andrew White Hon PhD (born 1964) is vicar of St George's Church, Baghdad, the only Anglican church in Iraq. He has thus been dubbed the "Vicar of Baghdad". He is also President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.

(Perhaps the man for the job you have in mind ..Peter?.)

29 June 2013 at 16:31  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older