Two Top Christian Leaders: Former Melkite Patriarch Gregory III and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna begin hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners
Compiled by Arab America
Two prominent Christian leaders, Gregory Lahham III, former Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Alexandria and Jerusalem, and Archbishop Theodosios of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, more commonly known as Archbishop Atallah Hanna, began hunger strikes this week in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners striking in Israeli jails.
Lahham, 83, who submitted his resignation for retirement to Pope Francis from pastoral office on Saturday, as Greek Melkite Patriarch, said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, “I say to the prisoners, we are with you in your sacrifice for Palestine.”
Atallah, issued a statement that the prisoners’ cause is the “issue of all Palestinian people,” stressing his support for the prisoners’ just demands. He went on to say, “We belong to this land and we belong to this people who fights for freedom. We will always remain biased to the just Palestinian cause.”
Both Lahham and Hanna have been strong advocates for justice in Palestine.
In December 2010, Laham was quoted by the Lebanon Daily Star as claiming that attacks against Levantine Christians, were part of a “Zionist conspiracy against Islam.” He reportedly stated that “All this behavior has nothing to do with Islam, but it is actually a conspiracy planned by Zionism and some Christians with Zionist orientations and it aims at undermining and giving a bad image of Islam.”
Hanna, known for his political activism in Jerusalem, is the only Orthodox Palestinian Archbishop in Palestine and has been highly recognized for his commitment to unifying Christians and Muslims within Jerusalem, and speaking out in favor of coexistence in the holy city.
Hanna has spoken strongly against terrorism and has attempted to enlighten the public on how “Terrorism has no religion,” and that victims of terrorism are from “all affiliations.” Hanna has continually pushed to ensure Christian and Muslim Palestinians are granted the same rights and respect, commenting on how Palestinians of both religions have suffered.
Patriarch Lahham and Archbishop Hanna have joined a growing list of social activists and supporters from around the world who show support for the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.