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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Archbishop of Canterbury condemns escalating Middle East violence
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 The Archbishop of Canterbury has written a strong letter to the Heads of Churches in the Lebanon, in which he condemns the escalating violence. He writes: "I have been alarmed at the spiral of violence, the vicious circle of attack and retaliation, that has developed over the last few days. My prayers and sympathy are with the principal victims, the innocent civilians on both sides of the border, who now live in terror and are powerless to prevent the collective suffering at the hands of at the hands of Hizballah and the Israeli military. "The distress felt at the destruction not only of life but also the infrastructure so painstakingly rebuilt after years of conflict will, I know, be acute and reinforce the sense of helplessness at being caught up in a wider regional struggle. My condemnation of this resort to violence is unequivocal." The full text of the letter is below. To Our beloved Brothers in the Lord The Heads of Churches in Lebanon Grace and Peace from the Lord Jesus Christ at this traumatic time for you and the people of Lebanon. Today, as thousands of foreign passport-holders are evacuated from Beirut, I am only too conscious of the plight of those, from all communities, who have no place of refuge from the violence that has been unleashed. It pains us all greatly to see again the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East fleeing the land where they have borne witness for two millennia and to contemplate the hardships that will be faced by those who stay. I have been alarmed at the spiral of violence, the vicious circle of attack and retaliation, that has developed over the last few days. My prayers and sympathy are with the principal victims, the innocent civilians on both sides of the border, who now live in terror and are powerless to prevent the collective suffering at the hands of at the hands of Hizballah and the Israeli military. The distress felt at thedestruction not only of life but also the infrastructure so painstakingly rebuilt after years of conflict will, I know, be acute and reinforce the sense of helplessness at being caught up in a wider regional struggle. My condemnation of this resort to violence is unequivocal. I offer you every support in your efforts to bring it to an end and allow Lebanon to be, once again, a living message of co-existence and solidarity between different religious communities. Remembering the times we have met, even recently, I look forward to the chance to do so again in calmer times - either here or in Lebanon. Although our Christian message may seem, in these dark days, a small voice in a terrible wilderness of suffering it is delivered in the confidence that God's purposes for us and his people will prevail and that purpose is one of peace, harmony and reconciliation. May our Lord Jesus Christ give you, as chief pastors of his flock, every strength and blessing in your ministry. ++ Rowan Cantuar
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