Church leaders, including the Pope and the head of the WCC, have condemned Sunday's attack in Baghdad, Iraq, when gunmen took hostages in the Sayidat al-Nejat Church.
World Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has condemned the events as a "criminal act of terror".
The death toll from the hostage standoff rose to some 58 people on Monday, including priests, women and children and Iraqi security forces who conducted a raid to end the siege.
"The World Council of Churches strongly condemns the criminal act of terror that took place on Sunday in the Sayyidat al-Najat Church in Baghdad and expresses its deep sympathy and solidarity with those who lost their loved ones and pray for a speedy recovery for the injured," said Tveit.
"The fellowship of the World Council of Churches is deeply troubled by the continuous suffering of Christians in Iraq and continues to stand in solidarity with all churches as they pass through turbulent and challenging times and witness to the love and peace of God in Jesus Christ even amidst hatred and aggression," he continued.
The WCC chief added: "This is not the first time that such attacks have targeted Christian communities in Iraq. All those responsible need to be brought to justice, and governmental authorities should take their responsibility to bring safety and security to all citizens and particularly to those in vulnerable situation."
Dr Tveit made these comments shortly before delivering the opening address at a high-level Christian-Muslim consultation, which takes place at the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland from 1-4 November 2010.