“What would you do if you were a father or a mother?”

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Strengthening the presence of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land is the main goal of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. And now, as violence has broken out in Israel and Gaza, the order is doing what they can to protect both Christians and non-Christians alike.

This month, the order donated $10,000 to the Holy Family Parish in Gaza to provide food and water to the hundreds of people sheltering there. And this work will continue.

Governor General of the Order

The real emergency right now is how to get to the precise place where not only our people and Christians are gathered but others as well, and get medicines, food, water and even gasoline for the generators.

Before the outbreak of this violence, there were already only 1,000 Christians in Gaza. The war increases the probability of even more Christians permanently fleeing the Holy Land and the Middle East—something that is very familiar to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the former Apostolic Nunio to Iraq and the current Grand Master of the Order.

Grand Master of the Order

Let's not forget that 100 years ago, when it was still more or less the end of the Ottoman Empire, Christians, in that area, were almost 25 to 30%. Today they are 1 or 0%. Why?
When I was in Iraq and I was saying “please don't leave,” they would respond: What would you do if you were a dad or a mom with children, or if your grandfather died there, or if your brother was disabled in the war?

The Cardinal emphasized that this ongoing struggle in Israel and the Middle East will only be solved when the religious differences and rights of all are respected.

Grand Master of the Order

We as a Church cannot be absent in this reality. Even in this dramatic situation that we are living in, an even more direct way, as to say, we of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, if we don't come out of this conflict and start respecting the rights of all, unfortunately, it's been 100 years of ongoing struggles that will continue.

As their outreach in the Holy Land continues, members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre will gather in Rome next month to serve as a consultative body to advance the mission of their group that serves the Catholic Church in the Lands of the Bible.


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