Office for Christian Unity

Thursday 20 June 2024


Extract from the press conference given by His Beatitude Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, on his return from his pastoral visit to Gaza from 15 to 19 May 2024.

I entered Gaza during Pentecost week, when we pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It was certainly a great blessing to be with the parishioners of Gaza. I was among my people who are suffering so much from the war and the destruction it has caused. I brought with me the promise of a new life, and I was very surprised to find that they were the ones who taught me a lesson I’ll never forget: their unshakeable faith, along with their comforting smiles, has marked me for the rest of my life (…)

I made a pastoral visit to check on the conditions of the Christian community in Gaza. The scale of the destruction I witnessed is incredible and the living conditions (such as the lack of water, electricity and security) are terrible. Bombs drop frequently and are felt at every moment. Despite this, I saw a unity among them, organising their daily life in the monastery and managing their use of electricity, water and food so that nothing was missing.

Visiting the Orthodox church, I prayed with them and spent time at the monastery meeting all the residents, as well as their parish priest and bishop, who were very welcoming. (…)

At the end of my visit, I celebrated the feast of Pentecost with the parish of Gaza on Sunday 19 May 2024, administering the sacrament of confirmation to two parishioners. During my homily, I emphasised two important points: the need to preserve unity between people, which I have seen and to which I bear witness. (…) I also urged them, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep the flame of hope burning in their hearts and lives, and I assured them that as a Church, we will not abandon them and that we will be among the first to help rebuild Gaza and help its inhabitants to lead a dignified life.


Prepared by our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

To be adapted according to your location

At a time when the war in Gaza has been going on for more than eight months and tensions at the border with Lebanon are high, threatening to engulf the entire Middle East region, we join Patriarch Pizzaballa in praying that an agreement will finally be reached for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages and the start of reconstruction.

In recent weeks in the Holy Land, demonstrations have brought together Jews, Christians and Muslims in a desire for dialogue, justice and peace.

Lord, we ask you for the grace of perseverance and hope for these people who continue to believe that a future is possible together on this Earth.

In a few days’ time, the Eastern Churches will be celebrating Pentecost, this year a month and a half later than the Western Churches.

Lord, we thank you for the richness of these Churches. May your Spirit continue to work in them and may we allow ourselves to be taught more and more by one another.

In 2025, we will be celebrating the 1700th anniversary of the first Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. That year, the date of Easter will be the same for all our Churches.

Lord, we entrust to you all the preparations and initiatives that will take place to celebrate these events. May they be an opportunity for renewed determination on the road to unity