St. Gallen (Switzerland)/ Brussels(Belgium), 16 March 2018
News release issued jointly with the CCEE
Following the meeting of the members of the CCEE-CEC Joint Committee in Brussels, from 9-10 March, presidents of the two European ecclesial organisations – Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, CCEE president and Bishop Christopher Hill, CEC president, issued a letter of support to the three leaders of the churches who recently signed a joint statement protesting the proposal of the municipality of Jerusalem to tax the religious buildings. This letter of protest was signed by Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, All Palestine and Jordan Theophilos III, His Beatitude Nurhan Boghos Manoogian, Patriarch of the Apostolic Throne of St. James (Armenian) and Fr. Francesco Patton OFM, Custos of the Holy Land.
The two presidents wrote in their letter “Recognizing the steps that the prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done so far, we hope that the Israeli Government may act as guarantor of all the Holy Places in Jerusalem, in respect of the status quo and defend the presence of the Christians in the Holy Land. The yearning for peace in this land is also part of the commitment to oppose any form of discrimination on the basis of religion.”
“In accordance with the “existing agreements and international obligations which guarantee the rights and privileges of the Churches”, we trust that the Israeli Government, supported by the Israeli people’s desire for peace and justice, can prevail over the decision of the municipality of Jerusalem to tax the Churches’ property. This measure would put at risk not just religious and charitable services aimed at the whole population of the territory, but the very Christian presence itself in Jerusalem.”
They continued, “We also hope that the European institutions and the Governments will do all that is within their power to support International law and peace in the Holy Land. The construction of the common European home, in a continent profoundly marked by its Jewish-Christian roots, is also part of the commitment to oppose any form of discrimination on the basis of religion, as well as any limitation of religious freedom or the violation of international law outside Europe, too”
For more information or an interview, please contact:
CEC Communication Coordinator
Tel: +32 2 234 68 42
CCEE Media Officer
Tel. +41 71 227 6044, cell. +41 79 12 80 189
Website: www.ccee.eu / http://eurocathinfo.eu
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 116 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national councils of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) currently gathers 33 European Bishops’ Conferences, represented by their Presidents, plus the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.), the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo and the Apostolic Administrator of Estonia. The President is Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa; Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Msgr Stanisław Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznań. The Secretary General is Mgr Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland) www.ccee.eu