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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Demetrios Condemn Arson of Synagogue in Crete

The following is a translation of the letter (Jan. 20, 2010) of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Jewish community of Greece on the recent arson attacks on the historic synagogue, “Erz Hayyim” in Chania, Crete.


To the honorable Mr. Moses Konstantinis,

Chairman of the Central Israeli Council of Greece: grace and peace from God.

It is with profound sadness that we were informed at the Ecumenical Patriarchate about the new arson attempt against the building of the Hebrew Synagogue in the Old City of Chania.

Therefore, through this our Patriarchal Letter, we want you to know that we condemn this deed as any other deed of violence and terrorism and, particularly, against sites of the worship of God. Furthermore, we express to you the deep sympathy of our Most Holy Church of Constantinople and ours too, as well as our deeply felt compassion over this sad event. We pray to God to protect you and the Jewish community in Greece from every assault.

In closing, we invoke upon you the grace and infinite mercy of God.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America also made the following statement:


It is a deeply sad and disturbing that an attack on this historic 15th century synagogue or any house of worship should have ever happened. Clearly, such a sacrilege has been perpetrated by aberrant person or persons, who in no way represent the proud people of Crete or the Hellenic people as a whole, the names of whose heroes of the Holocaust are inscribed in the hearts of the Jewish people. We stand in solidarity with His All Holiness and all people of good will who condemn this cowardly act, and we pray for the swift restoration of this Synagogue, and for the well being of the historic Jewish community of Crete.

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