• Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 7:36 PM
    Last Update : Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 7:36 PM

Bethlehem Church Holds Eulogy Ceremony over Gaza Victims

(AWP) - Priests and clergymen of the Forefathers Greek Orthodox Church in the city of Beit Sahour, Bethlehem province, south of the West Bank, held on Saturday ceremonies to eulogize the victims of an attack on the Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza Strip, which came under shelling raids on Friday.

“We are deeply sad and agonized to watch these scenes. Children were being killed on this holy soil because of the (Israeli) occupation’s destruction of houses and the killing of women, elderly people, men and children on this sacred land,” said Father Issa Mosleh, the pastor of the Forefathers Church in Beit Sahour and the official spokesman for the Greek Orthodox patriarchate in Jerusalem.

“We protest and make our voices heard along with those of the Jerusalem patriarchs and heads of churches to the UN, Security Council and all the free people and patriarchs worldwide as well as His Holiness the Pope (Francis of the Vatican) in order to stop these massacres and war and the killing of civilians,” added Mosleh, who is also the official spokesman for the Greek Orthodox patriarchate in Jerusalem.

“We are not promoters of violence, fanaticism or extremism. We only want rightfulness, freedom and justice by setting up our Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. I am telling the whole world that this is a chance for a Palestinian statehood,” he noted.

Palestinians flowed into the hall of the Bethlehem church to participate in the ceremony of condolences over the killing of 17 people, mostly women and children, in the shelling attack.

The condolence ceremonies began with the presence of priests, scouts and local residents of Bethlehem province. The Orthodox Club Scout then organized protests for children who raised Palestinian flags and photos of the victims of the Saint Porphyrius Church attack in Gaza.

Eyewitnesses had affirmed that the Saint Porphyrius Church only had Christians inside and had no weapons or non-civil targets, accusing the Israeli army of deliberately targeting the church.

“We pray for the souls of all martyrs of Palestine – Muslims and Christians – and also for the soul of my nephew and ask for mercy for his soul and he will hopefully be with the saints and all martyrs of Palestine in the Kingdom of Heaven. 
Palestine will be liberated, Jerusalem will be liberated, our independence will be obtained and peace will prevail in the lands of peace,” said Marwan Awad, the maternal uncle of one of the victims of the Gaza church attack.

“We ask all governments of the world to intervene to stop this bloodshed in order for civilians to get a chance to live in peace and to check their losses and loved ones. We wish this war would come to an end because we are only peace advocates in this blessed land,” he added.

The Palestinian health ministry announced that more than 4,000 people have been killed so far in Gaza as a result of the continuous Israeli bombing raids on the enclave for more than two weeks now.