LONDON (RNS) — Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday (Oct. 19) to show solidarity with Christian communities and leaders there after a missile severely damaged the Anglican-run al-Ahli hospital in Gaza. On Friday, he met with members of the Anglican Church and the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, Hosam Nauom. But the visit, which is expected to last until Sunday, will also be more wide-ranging, according to a spokesperson at the archbishop’s office at Lambeth Palace, with opportunities to visit leaders of other Christian churches and Jewish leaders as well, and to renew his call for the release of hostages taken during the Hamas attacks on Israel on Oct. 7. He will also express his sympathy for the victims of the Hamas attacks.
While speculation is growing that Welby, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church might jointly issue a statement calling for a ceasefire, Welby’s visit will be crucial in helping the Christian leaders understand the value or not of a possible intervention by them.
Welby’s visit is the first by the head of a Christian denomination from overseas since the conflict began.
“This a crucial time for all of us to show solidarity and care to those impacted by this war,” said the Lambeth Palace spokesperson. …