This resource pack contains messages and prayers from:

  • His Beatitude Patriarch Irineos the First, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  • His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  • His Beatitude Patriarch Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  • Father Giovanni Battistelli, Custos of the Holy Land
  • His Eminence Archbishop Dr. Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
  • His Eminence Archbishop Mar Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar
  • His Eminence Archbishop Abba Kewestos, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
  • His Eminence Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
  • His Grace Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East
  • His Grace Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and Palestine
  • Archimandrite Mtanios Haddad Greek Catholic (Melkite) Patriarchate, Jerusalem

    Member churches and partners are kindly asked to keep the WCC informed of the ways in which these resources will be used. Any planned activity shared with WCC International Affairs, Peace & Human Security will be included in the overall ecumenical effort and added on the WCC webpage to be redesigned in January 2002. For more information you are welcome to contact the WCC International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team: Tel. + 41 22 791 6720, E-mail

  • Prayers For Peace from the Churches of Jerusalem
    To End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine

    In the context of the Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace (2001-2010) the World Council of Churches' Executive Committee, meeting in September 2001, called upon member churches and ecumenical partners 'to focus attention in 2002 on intensive efforts to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine'. In order to launch this campaign the Churches of Jerusalem were invited to share with the ecumenical fellowship their prayers and messages for peace.

    The World Council of Churches invites you to join your voices with those of the Churches in the Holy Land to pray for an end of the Israeli occupation and all the killing and bloodshed, to restore broken relationships and to be the instruments of peace. We encourage you to use this resource pack in your worship services starting January 1, 2002 up to Easter Sunday, to mark the beginning of the year 2002 and our collective efforts to end the violence of the illegal occupation of Palestine.

    With the holy blessings of all the Church leaders of Jerusalem, let us renew and intensify our efforts in the year 2002 to end the suffering of our brothers and sisters living under occupation and work towards a comprehensive peace based on justice and security for all the peoples of the region.

    WCC International Affairs, Peace & Human Security
    December 2001

    Message from His Beatitude Irineos the First, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

    We, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Mother of Churches, living together with our congregation in the Holy Land, and awaiting the approaching feast of Christmas, experience deeply the mystery of love and mercifulness of God for our salvation through His incarnate Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem of Judea.

    At the same time, we experience the phenomena of violence, intolerance, lack of peace and security, and consequently the absence of pilgrims from the Holy Land.

    Under such circumstances, we strengthen our prayers to God for peace, and appeal to the two conflicting sides in our area to restart peace negotiations, and in this way to arrive at a final resolution and, as well, the status of the Holy Shrines and the rights of the Christian communities living around them.

    Israeli settlement on the West Bank
    Message from His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

    Greetings of peace from Jerusalem!

    Praying for peace is, next to study and action, a major task of the WCC. I am very glad to hear that you are launching the year 2002 to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine. Therefore, I send you a "Prayer for Peace", which could be used not only to pray for Palestine, but also for the whole world, because the time we are living is very significant and historical. We live in a time of profound distress. The terrorist attacks in the USA on the 11th of September, followed by ant-terrorist campaigns, and since 7 October, the war in Afghanistan, are just a few examples of the dramatic and tragic events worldwide. The conflict in the Holy Land is one hundred years old, and it is time to put an end to the suffering of the peoples of this region of the world. The current situation since September 28, 2000 is the worst period in this conflict, and should be the last. Hopefully, this campaign will help both peoples and three religions to find out that peace cannot be but the fruit of justice.

    Let us pray for all the victims of this violence, for their families, for the people who still live in shock and fear. Let us hope and pray that people can express their fear and that their anger will not result in hate or revenge. Anger and fear amongst the people has mainly to do with the feelings of insecurity. More than ever, the globalisation of insecurity has become a reality. No weapons system, no military strategy can stop such types of terrorist attacks. The only solution lies in social justice. Though poverty is not by itself the cause of terrorism, we cannot successfully combat terrorism if we do not address the worsening disparities between the rich and poor. We must recognize that global disparity is fundamentally incompatible with global security.

    I know this is the experience of my own region, where escalation and further bloodshed goes on. Shootings and killings from both sides in the conflict will only deepen further the hatred and acts of revenge. When will the international community, and we ourselves as well, be ready to remove the most obvious elements that spawn the conditions for hatred and violence? Poverty along with other situations of marginalisation that engulf the lives of so many people, including the denial of human dignity, the lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, social exclusion, intolerable refugee situations, internal and external displacement and physical and psychological oppression are breeding grounds waiting to be exploited.

    I also invite you to pray with us the prayer of the Pope in Bethlehem: O Child of Bethlehem, Son of Mary and Son of God, Lord of all time and Prince of Peace, "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), heal all our wounds, strengthen our steps, open our hearts and minds to "the loving kindness of the heart of our God who visits us like the dawn from on high" (Luke 1:78). Amen.

    I hope that your "prayer for peace" will bring together many people from the three Monotheistic Religions, which should co-exist peacefully together in the Holy Land. Let us pray for a better and just peace in our world of today.

    Message from His Beatitude Torkom Manoogian Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

    We, as one of the heads of the oldest traditional Christian Churches in the Holy Land, appeal to the World Council of Churches to do its utmost to contribute to the cessation of violence and the restoration of peace with justice and the restarting of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, who have been in armed conflict over a year, causing devastation of towns, the bloodshed of hundreds of innocent lives of citizens of both sides, men, women and infants. It distresses us to see how this Holy Land, which is the home of the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, is being torn into pieces and, instead of love, hatred is being sown among its peoples, and instead of peace, the seeds of perpetual war.

    We, as the faithful followers of the Prince of Peace, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born in this Holy Land, in Bethlehem, and who brought His divine message of salvation first to the Jews and then through them to the rest of the nations, have an obligation to see the implementation of His message of love to our neighbors, by taking care of the bereaved and the needy, and advocating justice for the ones that suffer injustice.

    As leaders of the Mother Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, we have adopted the motto since 1994, that this Holy Land should be shared by two nations and the three religions, and shall live side by side as good neighbors, in love and in peace, by respecting the human rights, freedom of worship and movement of all citizens and by safeguarding the Holy Places of all three religions. Without these basic principles, there can be no real peace, but constant turmoil, not only here, but throughout the Middle East and consequently the rest of the world.

    Therefore, we ask our Christian Churches throughout the world, to look very seriously and conscientiously into the plight of the suffering peoples of this Holy Land, whether Palestinians or Israelis, or whether Christians, Jews or Moslems, and lend their hearty support in the search of a permanent solution to this decades-long question.

    A Prayer for peace from the Franciscan tradition from Father Giovanni Battistelli, Custos of the Holy Land

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
    Where there is injury, pardon,
    Where there is doubt, faith,
    Where there is despair, hope,
    Where there is darkness, light,
    Where there is sadness, joy.

    O, Divine Master, grant that I may seek
    not so much to be consoled as to console
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love,
    for it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

    Funeral of a young Palestinian, Jerusalem, 2000
    A prayer from His Eminence Archbishop Dr. Anba Abraham Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

    O Lord God Almighty, we raise our hearts to you asking for Your mercy. Please God, look upon us, Your children, in the turmoil of this troubled world, full of suffering, pain, depression, persecution, violence, bitterness, hatred, and, above all, injustice. O Lord, have mercy upon us.

    Grant Your peace to our city, the city of peace, that has long suffered and is still suffering from the grief of wars.

    O Lord, remember all those who are persecuted and tortured - defend them. Remember the bereaved - give them condolence. Homes for the homeless, quick recovery for the sick, and repentance to sinners. Guide the world leaders to be just and understanding.

    We pray for justice and peace to prevail everywhere. O Lord God our Father, grant us peace - not that of the world - but your heavenly everlasting peace that you promised us deep in our hearts. Give us the power to forgive and forget and fill our hearts with love towards all for the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

    A prayer from His Eminence Archbishop Mar Swerios Malki Mourad Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar

    From the Spiritual Treasure on Canonical Prayer Book 12 - Supplication to the Holy Spirit

    O You Divine Comforter, Spirit of Truth; O treasure-house of goodness, and fountain of life; You Who do apportion gifts and give divine favors, come dwell in us, and cleanse us thoroughly from all defilement. O Lord, create in us a clean heart, and renew within us a right spirit, even the spirit of temperance and purity, the spirit of piety and holiness, the spirit of deliberation and strength, and the spirit of knowledge and the fear of You, O God. Be with us and among us, guiding, aiding, strengthening and comforting us. O Holy, Merciful and Good Spirit, grant me a fountain of tears that, with them, I may wash my heart clean of its defilement, so that it pleases You to dwell in it. Ignite in it the fire of Your divine love, and refresh and revive in me the spirit of good work, that I may live in You forever and ever.


    Barbed wire around a Jerusalem church, 2000
    A prayer from His Eminence Archbishop Abba Kewestos Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate

    In the name of the Father and of the Son
    And of the Holy Spirit one God, Amen.

    For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
         Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
    For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
         And who is he that will harm you if you will be followers of that which is good?
         But if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
         But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meakness and fear;


    A prayer from His Eminence Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate

    God Father of all, we give you praise for your creation and with your creation. Out of love you brought everything into existence and continue to watch over the whole universe and sustain it with love.We come to you in all confidence seeking your forgiveness for the harm we have done and are doing to each other and to your creation, especially during the present times and in various parts of the world.

    Lord Jesus Christ, you came to bring us peace, that all peoples may have life and have it in abundance. As we prepare to relive the events of your incarnation help us keep in mind vividly that you have called us to be peace makers and to help each other reach the fullness of life to which you have called each and every human being. Look upon all the people who are suffering from hunger, displacement, injustice, violence, discrimination and all those who are marginalized in our societies. For Jerusalem and all the land of your birth we ask a special blessing and we pray that all those who have the privilege of living there may remember that they are children of the one Father who wants each and everyone of them equally to be enabled to live life to the full. Grant the decision makers, in the Holy Land and everywhere in the world, the wisdom and courage to do their utmost to bring about just peace and lasting reconciliation. Do not allow them to use different standards in their caring for your people and your creation and to justify excessive violence when it serves their objectives.

    Holy Spirit, God of Light, enlighten each and every buman being, especially those entrusted with the huge responsibility of making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people all over the world, that they may remember that seeking power, domination and material gain will never bring them lasting bliss. Love and only love can lead to true and lasting happiness and peace and bring all humanity and the whole of creation to the fullness of life and thus give glory to the Creator and Father of all. Amen.

    Second anniversary of the Intifada, 2000
    Prayers for the Holy Land from His Grace Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East

    Heavenly Father,

    In the life and ministry of your Son, Jesus Christ, you showed us how to live together; give this sense of unity to the peoples of the Holy Land today.

    In the death of your Son on the Cross,
    you showed how great was your love for us as well as your readiness to forgive; you brought new hope to your people and a desire to work for peace and justice; renew that hope in your people today and give them a burning desire to find your peace in this time.

    In the resurrection of Jesus and in the outpouring of your Holy Spirit you showed the disciples they had power and authority to conquer in your name; convince your people today of the gifts you have entrusted to them and so help them to transform their Land to your greater glory.

    We ask this in Jesusí name. Amen.

    Spirit of the Living God,

    Come afresh on your Holy Land.

    Help your people to restore broken relationships.

    Give them patience to break down barriers of suspicion and mistrust; ability to discern personal prejudice and the courage to overcome fear.

    Encourage them to respect each otherís integrity and rights so that your kingdom may be established on earth for Jesusí sake. Amen.

    A prayer and a Palestinian Litany from His Grace Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and Palestine

    "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid." (Isaiah 12:2) Heavenly Father, we praise you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to be born in Bethlehem to become one of us. As we this Christmas again thank and praise you for the birth of your Son, we find ourselves in the midst of violence, bloodshed, and hatred that seem to have no end. We feel helpless in front of the political and military might of this world. We look around us and find no salvation in human beings, but only in our incarnated Lord.

    As we join the shepherds of Beit Sahour and the Magi of the East in finding your salvation in the Holy Child in the manger, we pray that your presence will be seen and felt among us in these days of destruction and death.

    We ask you to cleanse our hearts from bitterness and hatred, and from frustration and fear. Make us all turn to you with repentance and fill us with trust and confidence in you, who is our salvation. We pray that all our suffering will bring us closer to you, and make us grow in faith and trust in you, and in love towards all our neighbours.

    Send your Holy Spirit to comfort the bereaved families, to bring recovery to the injured and disabled, and to change the hearts of all of us to make us see that your will in the Holy Land is that Palestinians and Israelis live justly and equally together. Change the minds of the politicians so that they may turn the swords into ploughshares.

    Bless your Church to be your instrument for peace, bringing comfort to the afflicted, promoting justice for the weak and dispossessed, and witnessing your love to all people.

    In Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

    Almighty and Eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we glorify and praise you. You are our only refuge in this troubled world.

          We glorify and praise you, our God.

    Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, you became one of us, sharing and understanding our humanity, our suffering and our problems.

          We glorify and praise you, our God.

    We thank you that you took refuge in Egypt, identifying yourself with all who are refugees and victims of political power.

          We thank you, our God.

    We thank you that you grew up in Nazareth and ministered to the people in Galilee, and spread your kingdom in a new way.

          We thank you, our God.

    We thank you that you were crucified in Jerusalem, identifying yourself with every person who suffers and lives under occupation and injustice. On the cross you carried the sin and the suffering of all human beings and reconciled us with you and with our fellow human beings.

          We thank you, our God.

    Our heavenly Father, we come before you with all the troubles and pains we are experiencing here in the Middle East.

          Lord, have mercy on us.

    We pray for all victims of injustice and violence in the present situation. We pray also for those who are responsible for injustice and all the forms of violence.

          Lord, have mercy on us.<p> We pray for our laborers who cannot enter to their places of work. We pray for our youth who are losing their hope for the future.

          Lord, have mercy on us.

    We pray for our mothers who are fed up with bloodshed, killing and the use of arms. We pray for bereaved families who lost their dear ones. We pray for the quick recovery of the injured. We especially pray for those who have to live with permanent disability.

          Lord, have mercy on us.

    Jesus, our Savior, our eyes look to you, our only help in these troubled times. Lord, hear our prayer.

    We pray that you open the eyes of the world, and of Israelis and Palestinians, for justice and reconciliation. Help us to see that the security and freedom of the one people is dependent on the security and freedom of the other.

          Lord, hear our prayer.

    We pray for politicians that they may realize that the security and peace we all long for will not come by the use of arms and force, but by doing justice so that the two peoples can reconcile and together work out an equitable co-existence for the future.

          Lord, hear our prayer.

    Lord Jesus, you have called us to be your followers. Give us your love for our fellow human beings. Free us, and our children, from hatred, bitterness, and the denying of the rights of others; and fill us with love, truth, and justice, so that we can recognize and respect the dignity and the rights of one another.

          Lord, hear our prayer.

    Lord Jesus, you have shown us that forgiveness is not forgetting oneís rights but asserting them. We know that forgiving is to see Christ in our enemies and to love them as our neighbors. Help us who are Palestinian to see you in Israelis, and Israelis to see you in us. Lead us all to affirm and respect that our humanity is a gift from you, as we are all created in your image. Give us courage to mutually recognize each otherís human, religious, civil and political rights.

          Lord, hear our prayer.

    Holy Spirit, giver of life and new beginnings, help us to faithfully respond to Godís call to be ministers of reconciliation.

          Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

    Help us to find ways of encouraging people to open their hearts and confess their part in the past injustices and find ways to build a just and secure future for our children. Give us wisdom and courage in this difficult task. When the pressures of the situation make us despair, come with your Holy Spirit and renew our strength and hope.

          Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

    Sustain with your power those, who in the midst of all difficulties, are building quietly the culture of reconciliation, justice and peace. They may not be many right now, but we remember that the work for Godís kingdom among us, started with only a handful of faithful and committed people.

          Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

    Come, Healing Spirit, and change us and open ways for us to change others. Remove all injustice and fill our land with a just peace. Remove all hatred and fill us all with true love.

          Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

    Remove all insecurity and bring in real security. Remove all occupation and bring in freedom for all.

          Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

    Merciful God, accept our prayer and yearning. You are the only strength we have. No one can take the power of prayer away from us. In the name of Jesus - our Liberator and Redeemer - we pray.


    Ecumenical Prayers for Peace from Archimandrite Mtanios Haddad, Greek Catholic (Melkite) Patriarchate, Jerusalem

    The Litany of the Peace

    Priest. In peace let us pray to the Lord. Choir. God have mercy (Kyrie-eleison - repeated after each verse).

    P. For peace from on high and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the lord.

  • For peace in the whole world, the well-being of the holy Churches of God and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.
  • For all victims of bloodshed and violence, as well as for the perpetrators of these evils.
  • For all the children and the young people that you may give them hope for the future, let us pray
  • For all bereaved families, the unemployed and all who seek to help them.
  • For all the guidance of your Holy Spirit for all the leaders of this land, especially President Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon, that they may be inspired to work for your peace with your justice.

    So we pray together

    Gracious Father, your love knows no limits. Fill our hearts with your compassion, open our eyes to your presence in the world, enlarge our minds to understand your will. Take our hands and minister through them. Speak through our words and direct our feet in the path of peace, that Christ may be revealed in us and that the world may believe. Amen.

  • Have in remembrance, also O Lord, we beseech thee. Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which is from end to end of the Universe; and give peace unto Her whom thou hast purchased with the precious blood of Christ: and establish thou firmly this holy Temple, even unto the end of the world.
  • Have in remembrance, O Lord, our most God-fearing and Christ-loving Ruler ... , to whom thou hast given the right to reign the earth. Crown him with the armour of truth, with the panoply of contentment.

  • Grant unto him peace profound and inviolate; inspire his heart with good deeds towards thy Church, and toward all thy people; that through his serenity we may lead a quite and tranquil life, in all godliness and soberness.

  • Visit us thy loving-Kindness, O Lord; manifest thyself unto us in thy rich bounties. Vouch safe unto us temperate and healthful season. Give gentle showers upon the earth, unto fruitlessness. Bless the crown of the year of thy beneficence. Make schisms to cease in the Church. Quench the rage of the nations; speedily destroy, by the might of the Holy Spirit, all uprising of heresies. Receive us all into thy kingdom, making us children of the light and of the day; and grant unto us thy peace, and thy love, O Lord our God; for all things hast thou given unto us.

  • Having made our petition for the unity of the faith, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, let us commend ourselves, and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

    Choir. To Thee, O Lord.

  • O Lord, who blesses those who bless thee, and sanctifies those who put their trust in thee: Save thy people and bless their inheritance. Preserve the fullness of thy Church; sanctify those who love the beauty of thy house; glorify them in recompense with thy divine might, and do not abandon us who set our hope on thee. Give peace to thy world, and to thy Churches and to thy Priests: and to our most God-fearing Ruler ... , to the Army and Navy, and to all thy people. For every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh from thee, the Father of Lights and unto thee we ascribe glory, and thanksgiving, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.

    Choir. Amen. -- Blessed be the Name of the Lord henceforth and forever(thrice).

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