The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has encouraged Christians across the world to support their sisters and brothers in the historic churches of the Middle East, as they face continuing pressures in the region.
The remarks from the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which claims 77 million members, came during a four day visit to Jordan, Israel and Palestine from 19 to 23 February 2010.
“I believe it is of first-order importance that we maintain our solidarity, friendship and presence in the region,” he declared, according to the UAE-based National news agency.
The Archbishop met with Christians in the Holy Land, including Anglicans in the Diocese of Jerusalem, and was accompanied throughout by the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, Bishop in Jerusalem. He also met with local Heads of State and Government - including King Abdullah of Jordan - and led the Anglican delegation in the fourth round of discussions with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
On 22 February, the third day of his visit, Dr Williams was received in a series of meetings by the three most senior heads of churches in Jerusalem: His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and members of the Holy Synod, His Beatitude Torkom II, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Addressing the small Anglican Church in Jordan, Dr Williams said: "It’s the same world [today] as the one into which Jesus came – in so many ways a place that can drive us to despair or rage, and yet now and forever a world in which God is real, so that neither rage and despair can be the only or the ultimate option for us.”