The Archbishop of Canterbury has begun a pastoral visit to Jerusalem, following the explosion at the Anglican Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza.
Lambeth Palace says the intention of the short visit is to offer solidarity to the local Anglican church, and particularly the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Most Rev Hosam Naoum.
During his visit the Archbishop will meet other Christian leaders in Jerusalem and will be shown examples of practical service offered by Christians to their wider communities.
The Archbishop also hopes to meet with some religious Jewish leadership and renew an appeal for release of hostages, as well as offering sympathy and condolences for Israeli victims of the Hamas terror attacks.
A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said on Thursday :
“The Archbishop is undertaking a pastoral visit to Jerusalem. This a crucial time for all of us to show solidarity and care to those impacted by this war. At heart of the Christian faith is the idea that the church is one body. When one part of the body suffers, we all suffer. Being alongside our fellow Christians, to listen, share and support is central to our faith. We are praying constantly for all who suffer in the Holy Land.”
Since the atrocities in Israel began on 7 October, the Archbishop has repeatedly condemned the terrorist attacks by Hamas. He has also expressed grave concern at the loss of life in Gaza, called for aid to reach its civilian population, and for international humanitarian law to be upheld. He has urged Christians around the world to pray for the Church in the Holy Land, and for all innocent people caught up in the war.
This is the third visit that Archbishop Welby has made to Jerusalem since taking office in 2013.