JERUSALEM — The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has strongly condemned the attack on St. Mary’s Church of Gethsemane and called on Israeli authorities to take “serious measures” to protect the holy sites.

In a statement released on March 21, the Chancellery of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem said that “religious intolerance and hate crimes in all their forms and perpetrations will never allow the conditions of peaceful co-existence to manifest.”

Below is the full communiqué released by the chancellery.

“The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemns the attack on the St. Mary’s Church of Gethsemane, which according to the Status Quo of the Holy Places is under the joint control of the Armenian and Greek Orthodox Churches.

Though it was the first attack on St. Mary since the beginning of this year, the Christian Holy Shrines have been in constant state of both physical and emotional duress by rogue attackers. Had these previous attacks on the Christian Holy Places been swiftly condemned by the local authorities leading to the perpetrators’ punishment to the full extent of the law, there would not be an influx of new attacks on the churches and monasteries of these Christian communities.

Religious intolerance and hate crimes in all their forms and perpetrations will never allow the conditions of peaceful co-existence to manifest. In fact, their presence – especially when gone unchecked by prevailing authorities – will encourage other hateful crimes and intolerances to take place. These actions and their lack of condemnation lead to unsafe conditions for these communities and establishes a lack of trust between worshipers, tourists, and residents with the local authorities.

Therefore, we call upon the Israeli Government and the Police to take serious measures to prevent such attacks and to protect both the Christian Holy sites and their daily worshipers from further vandalism and suchlike attacks.”

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