ACN supporting Christians in the Holy Land

The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has committed an aid package of 190,000 EUR to support the Christians of the Holy Land during the current crisis. This aid will support impoverished Christians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Christian migrant workers and asylum seekers in Israel.

Gaza Strip

There are around 1,000 Christians in the Gaza Strip. The majority of Gaza’s Christians are sheltering from the fighting in the Holy Family Catholic parish and the Greek Orthodox church of Saint Porphyrius. Hundreds of families have been crowded into the church compounds, with reports of dire shortages of food, medicine and water.

Israel Palestine war: Support Christians in the Holy Land
Archbishop Pizzaballa during the celebration of Holy Mass (August 2023)

ACN is supporting an initiative of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ) to secure a constant supply of basic necessities, including hygiene kits, medicine, food and fuel, to the isolated Christian communities in the Gaza Strip.

West Bank and East Jerusalem

Although the conflict is centred on the Gaza Strip, it has also badly impacted Christians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The West Bank is home to roughly 37,000 Palestinian Christians and a further 10,000 Christians live in East Jerusalem.

Christians in the region are heavily reliant on the tourism sector for employment. With most pilgrim and tourist traffic having ceased, many local Christians have lost their main source of income, while others are unable to travel to work due to the closing of checkpoints and other restrictions.

Israel Palestine war: Support Christians in the Holy Land
The St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox church, bombed in Gaza City

ACN is working with the LPJ to provide emergency assistance to the Christian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This assistance is mainly comprised of medical support, food coupons and subsistence aid for rent and essential bills, such as water and electricity.

Israel

In September 2021, the LPJ established the Vicariate for Migrants and Asylum Seekers (VMAS) to care for the 100,000 Catholic migrants and asylum seekers Israel. These migrants have a variety of legal statuses, and many are employed in low-cost labour jobs.

Israel Palestine war: Support Christians in the Holy Land
Holy mass and Rosary prayer in the Holy Family’s parish
(31.10.2023)

Hundreds of migrant Christians working in the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip were forced to flee and seek refuge in temporary shelters in East Jerusalem, mainly in convents, Christian guesthouses and other Church facilities. Others have taken shelter in churches in different parts of Israel, such as Tel Aviv.

ACN is assisting the VMAS to help provide accommodation, health care and other essential services for displaced Christian migrants living in Israel.

Israel Palestine war: Support Christians in the Holy Land
Christians of the Holy Land celebrated Palm Sunday with Mass and a procession (02.04.2023)

Latin Patriarch thanks ACN

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, expressed his gratitude to ACN for the foundation’s ongoing collaboration with the LPJ and for the support given to the Christians in the Holy Land during this time of crisis: “Thank you for your donation and solidarity with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Please continue to pray for our small Christian community as they give unwavering witness to the faith and hope.”

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