[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] Patriarch John X Addresses Crisis in Gaza - Orthodox Christian Laity

Patriarch John X Addresses Crisis in Gaza


Source: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Report from the Patriarchate of Antioch
(بيان باللغة العربية)

Patriarch John X with Metropolitan Elias Audi

On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, arrived at the Beirut Archbishopric. His Eminence Elias Audi, the Metropolitan of Beirut and its Dependencies, received him with the priests of the Archdiocese. After the prayer, a closed meeting took place between His Beatitude the Patriarch and His Eminence Metropolitan Elias, followed by lunch. His Beatitude answered journalists’ questions as follows:

“I address you, my beloved ones, from this honorable residence in Beirut, as we are on a fraternal visit, as usual, to our dear and beloved brother in the Lord, His Eminence Bishop Elias, the Pastor of this archdiocese guarded by the grace of the Lord. What can one say in these difficult circumstances? Of course, the visit was an occasion and opportunity to overview with His Eminence Elias all that is happening at different levels in the country and the whole region in general. We also tackled on the church level and discussed some issues since the Holy Synod, God willing, is called to convene next week and debate many topics to be studied and discussed.
“In these circumstances, what can one say when we see bloodshed here and there surrounding us? What is happening in Gaza first, this painful catastrophe, and what we are witnessing, is ultimately the cause of this displaced and expatriated Palestinian people. For many years now, they have been suffering from racial discrimination policies. I hope this catastrophic incident will awaken the conscience of the world officials, the concerned authorities, and the UN organization to intervene quickly and stop what is happening. Perhaps the world would realize that a solution must be found for this cause, the cause of the Palestinian people.
From this honorable residence, I say: enough oppression against the Palestinian people! Enough scorn against all Arabs, I would say. Anyone who thinks or believes that by starving the Palestinian people, the Syrian people, or even the Lebanese people, they can conquer, anyone who thinks that this is the way to achieve their objectives, is mistaken. I would even say that they are committing a crime against these peoples. Peace does not come from the bodies of children, killed people, innocent people, and women. Peace comes when the decision-makers in this world realize that our people have dignity, as all the peoples of the world. We are not advocates of war; we reject violence and killing, and we are seekers of peace, but at the same time, we seek justice and have a right that we will not give up. This is what happened a few days ago in Syria, during the incident in Homs, where many were killed and many others were injured. His Eminence Elias and I have pondered together: in the event of all this anxious, difficult, sad, painful, delicate, and sensitive situation, where is Lebanon, and where are the officials in this country so dear to us? Isn’t it time, facing all that is happening, for everyone to return to themselves, to join hands, to rise above selfishness and personal interests, and to work all together for the benefit of Lebanon and the Lebanese people? Where is the dignity of the Lebanese person who is undergoing all this suffering and has lost a life’s income after they stole their money from banks and made them go through all the tragedies? We call out aloud for all concerned authorities to meet and carry out presidential elections. We hope this to be the basis for a whole reform process and fighting corruption somehow, for the Lebanese people to enjoy their dignity and for the good functioning of the constitutional bodies and the normal functioning of the entire country.
Next week, by God’s mercy, we shall cross the threshold of the Holy Antiochian Synod. Many issues are scheduled on the Synod’s agenda. There is a long list. Let me focus on three points: The first point, which is fundamental, is the family. It will be on our agenda; we shall study and emphasize the importance of the family and the difficulties that the family is facing today in our societies and the whole world, and everything related to the issue of father, mother, family, children, upbringing, and so on.
Another very important topic is humanitarian aid. The Church’s diligent, strong, and effective work is to stand by her children and the country without exception, to support her children for survival and living in dignity, especially in these difficult economic and living conditions. I shall not cite the details of what we are all suffering from.
Third is also an important matter to study the file of two reverend priests, Father Nicolas Khashe and his physical son Father Habib Khashe. They were martyred for the sake of the Orthodox faith: Father Nicolas in 1917 and Father Habib in 1948. This file has been under study for years in the Holy Synod of Antioch, and a complete document was prepared regarding the Reverend Fathers Khashe. We hope and pray that this file will be studied in the coming Synod to canonize the Fathers Khashe. Our Church of Antioch is this glorious, great Apostolic Church. It is this Church that has been bearing witness and has been martyred at the same time throughout history, from the early days, with all the great fathers and holy men, the Apostle Peter, who founded this church with the Apostle Paul. By the way, Antioch was the first church to be founded by the Apostle Peter, and after Antioch, the other churches historically followed. Ignatius of Antioch, John Chrysostom, John of Damascus, all these holy fathers are from our Church. This Church did not stop having saints among its people, whether monks or married, as evidenced by the Council’s decision to canonize these fathers. Therefore, the holiness of the Church of Antioch has never been interrupted, and the Khashe Fathers were married priests. They had a family, and despite this, the Church will declare their holiness.
In our conscience, in our inner being, we see what is happening in our country, what is happening in Lebanon, what is happening in Syria, what is happening in the entire region, in the Middle East; this wounded and tortured East for many, many years. Perhaps it will be a cry out, a call to all decision-makers in this world not to apply double standards. What is permissible here is not permissible there, and vice versa. Therefore, before the Holy Synod, we shall hold an international conference next Monday, October 16, about the history of the Church of Antioch, specifically the period between the fifteenth century and the eighteenth century. This period in the history of Antioch was delicate and sensitive. Unfortunately, history, even church history, is often not recorded by saints; white becomes black, and black becomes white. History becomes as if it were a point of view. Therefore, in order to be fair to the truth, to correct history, and to have a correct and real view of this sensitive period in the history of Antioch, this conference will be held on an international level to clarify the history of this period in our history in this homeland and country.
We pray together with His Eminence, our beloved ones, and all the members of our Church and people for peace in the entire world, for stability, and for the repose of the souls of those who have passed away. We prayed that the wounds of the sick be soothed, and they might recover, for the wounds of every hurting person, every bereaved mother, every brother, and every sister, for everyone’s wounds. We ask the Lord to protect us and grant us peace, asking that we all join hands in our country for the good of our homeland, the good of our people, and all humanity.


  1. Cato the Elder on

    Not a word of condemnation for the atrocities and war crimes committed by Hamas against Israeli women and children.

    Not a word about the expulsion of Christians from Muslim majority territories.

    Not a word about the right of Jews to live in their own, tiny homeland in peace, within secure borders.

    Not a word of condemnation for the vows of terrorists to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and kill all Jews.

    “Palestinians” already have a homeland. It is in Jordan. They also have homelands in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. These homelands prefer to treat “Palestinians” as permanent refugees.. Stateless victims without a homeland. It serves their political agendas to keep the “Israeli/Palestinian conflict” unresolved

    It is not surprising that the Church of Antioch does not speak of these truths.

    It depends for its survival on both good and bad actors, in and out of governments in Syria and Lebanon.

    We all need to pray for peace and for the protection of all innocents. Hopefully those who seek to destroy Israel will experience a change of heart and mind. They will “learn to love their children more than they hate Jews” and agree to live in peace with the people of Israel.. who want nothing more than peace.

    • Peter Ray Millman on

      Hi Cato the Elder,
      It is with great reticence that I have to challenge some of your assertions for two reasons. 1) I genuinely like you, and 2) I believe you have a formidable intellect. In order to challenge you, I believe a person must bring their A game with them. First of all, Cato, I unequivocally condemn Hamas. In my humble opinion, they are unquestionably a terrorist organization. I grieve the deaths of both Israeli Jews and the Palestinians. Cato, this is the problem, it is a fact that Israel has practiced apartheid against the Palestinians since its inception. The new Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has written a highly acclaimed book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. During the “Nakba, the Israeli military systematically wiped out entire Palestinian villages. That aside, another thing that bothers me is that in 1900, 80% of the holy city of Bethlehem was Palestinian Christian. The Palestinian Christians have been leaving the Holy Land in droves because of Israel’s belligerent, brutal occupation. Before much longer, there will no longer be a Christian presence in the Holy Land. An interesting thing I have discovered is that the Jews, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese share the same genes. Same people – just different belief systems. Once again, in my humble opinion, US support and foreign military aid to Israel should cease because it violates President Washington’s warning against passionate attachment for any nation or state. While I’m at it, I think the US should cease its foreign military aid to Ukraine. We’ve given Ukraine well in excess of one hundred billion dollars in military aid. The chances of a nuclear war and the potential for miscalculations are unfathomable. I’m sorry to conflate the two subjects. In other words, let’s stay away from foreign military adventures. Thank you kindly!

  2. Cato the Elder on


    I appreciate your thoughtful response. It is refreshing today for dialogue to take place where difficult issues are addressed in the spirit of finding the truth, without trying to win an argument or refuse to consider each others views.

    I have not read Mr. Pappe’s book. I promise to do so. I will also address your other responses to my comment when I have more time than I have at this moment.

  3. Cato the Elder on


    “New historian” Ilan Pappe’s 2006 book is a one-sided polemic. Fellow new historian Benny Morris, reviewing Pappe’s book in The New Republic, wrote: “At best Ilan Pappe must be one of the world’s sloppiest historians; at worst, one of the most dishonest. In truth, he probably merits a place somewhere between the two.” Rather than trading polemics on either side of the Israel/Palestinian conflict, it would be better to try to understand where we are and how we got here.

    Aside from pro forma condemnation of Hamas as a terrorist organization you have not addressed the points raised in my post. You have also brought Ukraine and US foreign aid into the discussion, which are other matters for another day.

    We have enough to discuss in connection with my initial post about the Hamas atrocities against innocent Israel civilians and the tepid response of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

    Do you agree at the outset that Israel, a Nation/State member of the UN, recognized by the international community after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the end of the [1917-1948] British Mandate.. has a right to exist in peace, behind secure borders? Yes, or no?

    If you believe that Israel is a colonial occupier of Palestinian Lands … and that “from the river (Jordan) to the (Mediterranean) Sea Palestine must be free”; that is, that Israel must cease to exist, there is no need to try to unravel to events prior to and after May 14, 1948.

    If you agree that the Jewish people have a right to their own homeland in the territory set forth by the UN in 1948, then we can address the pre and post 1948 history of the conflict.

    Let me know how you’d like to proceed.


    • Peter Ray Millman on

      Thank you Cato for your kind response. I am going to limit my discussion to the questions you have raised. I agree that Israel has a right to exist in peace behind secure borders. I don’t believe in the destruction of the state of Israel or the often quoted, “From the river to the see, Palestine will be free.” I read that the UN has restated their position that the solution to the conflict is a two state solution. Personally, I believe the facts on the ground render a two state solution impossible. Israel has stated that Jerusalem is the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish people. East Jerusalem was supposed to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. My position, and it does not originate with me; it originates from Jeff Halper, the founder and head of the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (the committee for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, by the way), is that the facts on the ground make a two state solution obsolete. He wrote the book Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism Settler Colonialism, and the Case for one Democratic State. We believe there should be one state called Israel/Palestine in which the rights of the Israelis and Palestinians are enshrined equally. In other words, full equal rights for all of Israel’s and Palestine’s inhabitants. There are many Jewish peace activists living in Israel such as Rabbis for human rights, B’Teselem, Jewish Voices for Peace, ISCAD, etc. When Hamas brutally kidnapped and murdered Vivian Silver, they killed a true friend of the Palestinians. She was also a member of B’Teselem. Hamas is an evil, vile terrorist organization, and every one of its participants should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I hope this provides some answers to the questions you asked me. Whether I agree or disagree with you on all points, I will always respect your opinions. To quote Emerson, ” In my walks, every man is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” I’m not just here to express my opinions which are subject to change based on the acquisition of previously unknown facts, but I’m here to learn as well. Naturally, I’ve learned from you, Cato. Thanks again!!

      • Cato the Elder on

        Peter Ray,

        First, thank you for your patience in continuing our dialogue. Thank you also for acknowledging Israel’s right to exist within secure borders. Having agreed on that point, we can discuss how we have arrived at this point and whether there is a way forward for the people of Israel and their neighbors.

        I’d like to begin by going back to one of my original comments, to-wit:

        “Palestinians” already have a homeland. It is in Jordan. They also have homelands in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. These homelands prefer to treat ‘Palestinians’ as permanent refugees. Stateless victims without a homeland. It serves their political agendas to keep the ‘Israeli/Palestinian conflict’ unresolved.”

        What are your thoughts about this? Could Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt have welcomed and resettled most if not all of those displaced refugees within their territories? Is that a viable avenue to pursue? Is that wishful thinking or thinking outside of the box? If the facts on the ground have made a two-state solution impossible or obsolete, and if Israel has a right to exist within secure borders, how will this “Palestinian/Israeli conflict” be resolved?

        Recent history provides us with examples of large displacements of peoples usually arising out of wars or other conflicts. While the numbers and the reasons for the displacement of Muslims and Christians (“Palestinians”) from their homes in the territory of the former British Mandate designated for Israel in 1948 may be in dispute, there is no doubt that the number was large.

        It certainly was not as large as the number of refugees that Greece accepted from Turkey during the forced exchange of populations in 1923 following WWI and the Turkish genocide of Greeks and Armenians. Greece, a country with a population in 1923 of about 5,000,000, had to absorb 1,221,489 new citizens from Turkey.

        Is this relevant to our discussion? No and yes. No, because the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey was overseen by the international community through the Treaty of Lausanne. Yes, because it was a precedent that could have been pursued if Israel’s neighbors prioritized the interests of refugees over their opposition to the establishment of Israel.

        Your suggestion of a one-State solution of a State called “Israel/Palestine” sounds to me like a State called “Serbia/Kosovo”. A one-state solution (whatever its name) means to me that all of its citizens pledge allegiance to their country, serve in its military and agree to defend it against all foes, foreign or domestic. It means that none of its citizens comprise a “fifth column” of collaborators with countries and ideologies sworn to the destruction of Israel.

        So the question needs to posed: Who benefits from keeping “Palestinians” as perpetual refugees? Maintaining their “right to return” can only mean destabilizing Israel from within. As long as Iran and their proxy terrorist minions insist on the destruction of Israel, Israel cannot allow people who want to destroy Israel into their country.

        If the people of Gaza cannot be part of Israel, doesn’t it make sense for Gaza to become part of Egypt? If the people of the West Bank cannot become part -of Israel, doesn’t it make sense for them to become part of Jordan? If Egypt and Jordan have both signed peace treaties with Israel, and if other Arab countries see the value of recognizing and living in peace with Israel, the status of “Palestinian refugees” has to finally be put to rest. Separating the peace-loving people of Gaza and the West Bank from Hamas and other terrorist organizations should be the job of Israel’s neighbors, not only the Israeli military. Eradicating the ideology is also a job that can only be done by faithful Muslims.

        Footnote: The arrival of over 1,200,00 refugees in Greece in 1923 caused a much bigger disruption that almost bankrupted the country, than either Egypt or Jordan would experience in absorbing Gaza or some portion of the West Bank. Furthermore, most historians now agree that the energy and talent many of the refugees from Turkey brought to Greece changed Greece for the better.

    • Michael Koulos on


      The idea of Israel having a “right” to exist has already been answered, and not by man. Your post sounds like it was written by Nikki Haley or John Hagee.

      When judgement fell on Jerusalem in AD 70, this marked the “decisive end” of national Israel as the people of God. The modern nation of Israel means nothing in terms of theology from Scripture, despite some who believe the re-gathering to Israel to be a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

      It is often incorrectly asserted that the United Nations created the State of Israel by means of Resolution 181; this is completely untrue. Israel was founded by a Zionist movement, which led to the Balfour Declaration, which led to the partitioning of Palestine. The UN entered the picture later.

      Modern Israel is not rooted in Christ. “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6). This passage has modern day implications.

      Israel’s “fruits” include an apartheid government, expanded illegal settlements, no constitution, ultra-Orthodox Jews infiltrating the government, a current dictatorship, no Supreme Court, and enmity with the world. The UN has condemned Israel more than any other country. One can be arrested in Israel for preaching the gospel. World Data.info lists Israel as a pariah state.

      Israelis today talk about wanting peace. But without repentance, they will never have peace. The focus of Christ’s mission was to call sinners to repentance: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

      Hamas and Israel both deny Christ, so what we are witnessing is a never-ending cycle of death and destruction. This should not surprise anyone.

      Know Christ, know peace.

      No Christ, no peace.

      • Peter Ray Millman on

        Hi Michael,
        This is my last post on Israel/Palestine, because the subject isn’t worth the aggravation. I’m not going to change anyone’s opinion. First of all, I agree with your entire post. You reflect my own position exactly. Now, this is where Father Eusebius Stephanou really went off the rails. He wrote a book about the Orthodox view of Israel. It was sheer evangelical heresy.Our position (yours and mine) reflects the traditional Orthodox Christian view as espoused by Orthodox Saints such as St. John Chrysostom. By the way, you mentioned John Hagee. I believe he is a false teacher…. I have thoroughly studied Judaism and listened to all the tapes by Jews for Judaism. According to them, the most anti-semitic book in the Bible is the Gospel of John. Now, if they call Jesus an anti-semite, and they do along with the Apostle Paul, what would they do to us?
        I absolutely believe the state of Israel fulfills no prophecies. By the way, as you know, it is illegal under US law to give military aid to any nuclear state or country that has not signed the NNPT. How does Israel circumvent this? By opacity!! They will not admit or deny that they possess nuclear weapons. Of course, it’s kind of hard to have a Samson Option without nuclear weapons or to blackmail President Nixon during the Yom Kippur war without nuclear weapons. I agree that Israel is a pariah state. I won’t comment anymore about the apartheid state of Israel because, frankly, it’s not worth my aggravation. Many thanks!

        • Michael Koulos on


          Thank you for your reply. You are correct, the subject of Israel/Palestine isn’t worth the aggravation because it won’t change anyone’s mind.

          One thing I’ve learned from reading posts on this website is that “Christian Zionism” is alive and well. It’s a worldview that is so theologically twisted that it would make AIPAC proud. It applies to anyone who rejects any valid criticism of Israel. What usually follows is a charge of antisemitism. It really gets old after a while…and the cycle continues without hope.

          We all know that “Christian Zionism” is an oxymoron, they simply don’t go together. But it’s real and it’s practiced openly.

          Fortunately, most Christians don’t adhere to this warped ideology. Christ is still in first place.

          God has always used people to achieve His goals. He chose a teenage girl as the mother of His Son. He also used fishermen, a tax collector, soldiers, and a Pharisee to begin His early church. He also uses people who don’t follow Him as well. He used Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans to accomplish His goals.

          What I find interesting is that the biggest critics of Israeli policies are Jews themselves.

          Thank you!

  4. Cato the Elder on


    It is difficult to know exactly where to start in trying to respond, let alone make sense, of your post. At first, I thought the post was simply anti-Semitic, but it appears to be more.

    Apparently, you are saying that until all Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Atheists in the world embrace Christ, there should be “no peace”.

    As a follower of Christ, aside from eliminating Israel as a place of refuge for the world’s Jews, how much further are you prepared to go in eliminating those who do not know Christ?

    Are countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia (you can add others) “apartheid” states? Or is that designation only appropriate in the case of Israel?

    Because Roman Legions (not Christ’s disciples) destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD … what?

    Today’s Italians have a greater claim to the Holy Lands than today’s Jews? Where does that thinking take us? Back to Alexander the Great? Byzantium? The Ottomans?

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