ONE @ 50: The Significance of Jerusalem for Christians

In honor of ONE magazine’s 50th-anniversary year, the CNEWA blog series, ONE @ 50: From the Vault, aims to revive and explore the wealth of articles published in ONE magazine throughout its history. This 1994 statement written by the heads of Christian communities in Jerusalem, published in the March-April 1995 edition of ONE, examines the significance and context of Jerusalem’s role as a holy city for the Abrahamic religions.

Read an excerpt from “The Significance of Jerusalem for Christians” below, then read the full story.

On Monday, 14 November 1994, the heads of the Christian communities in Jerusalem met in solemn conclave to discuss the status of the Holy City and the situation of the Christians there, at the conclusion of which, they issued the following declaration:

Jerusalem, Holy City

Jerusalem is a city holy for the people of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Its unique nature of sanctity endows it with a special vocation: calling for reconciliation and harmony among people, whether citizens, pilgrims or visitors. And because of its symbolic and emotive value, Jerusalem has been a rallying cry for different revived nationalistic and fundamentalist stirrings in the region and elsewhere. And, unfortunately, the city has become a source of conflict and disharmony. It is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab disputes. While the mystical call of the city attracts believers, its present unenviable situation scandalizes many.

The Peace Process

The current Arab-Israeli peace process is on its way toward resolution of the Middle East conflict. Some new facts have already been established, some concrete signs posted. But in the process Jerusalem has again been sidestepped because its status, and especially sovereignty over the city, are the most difficult questions to resolve in future negotiations. Nevertheless, one must already begin to reflect on the questions and do whatever is necessary to be able to approach them in the most favorable conditions when the moment arrives.

Read more.

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