International Affairs, Peace & Human Security

WCC Central Committee
Geneva, Switzerland, 14-22 September 1995

In previous WCC statements on Jerusalem, quoted below, the World Council of Churches has affirmed that:

1. Jerusalem is a holy city for three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Central Committee, Berlin/West, 1974). It is therefore their responsibility to cooperate in the creation of conditions that will ensure that Jerusalem is a city open to the adherents of all three religions, where they can meet and live together. The tendency to minimize Jerusalem's importance for any of these three religions should be avoided. (V. Assembly, Nairobi, 1975)

Jerusalem: Damascus Gate

2. Christian Holy Places in Jerusalem and neighbouring areas belong to the greatest extent to member churches of the World Council of Churches, specifically to the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches... Any proposed solution as to the future of the holy places in Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate rights of the churches most directly concerned. (Central Committee, 1974)

3. (The) question of Jerusalem is not only a matter of protection of the holy places, it is organically linked with living faiths and communities of people in the holy city. (It) is essential that the holy shrines should not become mere monuments of visitation, but should serve as living places of worship integrated and responsive to Christian communities who continue to maintain their life and roots within the holy city, and for those who, out of religious attachment, want to visit them. (V. Assembly)

4. The special legislation regulating the relationship of the Christian communities and the authorities, guaranteed by international treaties (Paris 1856 and Berlin 1878) and the League of Nations and known as the status quo of the Holy Places must be fully safeguarded and confirmed in any agreement concerning Jerusalem. (V. Assembly)

5. (The) settlement of the interreligious problems of the holy places should take place under an international aegis and guarantee which ought to be respected by the parties concerned as well as the ruling authorities; (and) should be worked out with the most directly concerned member churches, as well as with the Roman Catholic Church. These issues should also become subjects for dialogue with Jewish and Muslim counterparts. (V. Assembly)

6. (The) future status of Jerusalem... has to be determined within the general context of the settlement of the Middle East conflict in its totality. (V. Assembly).

7. (Just) as the future status of Jerusalem has been considered part of the destiny of the Jewish people, so it cannot be considered in isolation from the destiny of the Palestinian people...(Central Committee, Geneva, 1980).

Against this background, and in the light of the deep religious, historical and emotional attachments of Christians, Jews and Muslims to Jerusalem and the turmoil to which this gives rise; and recognising the significance of Jerusalem to the continuing Middle East peace process, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Geneva, 14-22 September 1995,

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