HOLY LAND CHRISTIAN LEADERS RELATE HOPE IN LIGHT OF CHRISTMAS JOY

JERUSALEM, Dec 19, 01 (FIDES/CWNews.com) - Hope is stronger
than violence, joy is greater than "suffering and sadness"
because of Jesus, God's gift to mankind, born in the stable
in Bethlehem. This is the spirit of a Christmas message 2001
released today by the 13 patriarchs and heads of Christian
churches in Jerusalem.

The Christian leaders acknowledge that in the Holy Land,
"time and time again hope is raised only to be slashed by
daily events." They urge their people not to emigrate from
the region, but to "stand firm in faith, rooted in your
land with the fullness of Christian joy in your hearts."

The Christmas message encourages parents to take extra care
with the "children traumatized by the experiences of past
days," and to redouble their prayers for peace. "In spite
of all the suffering, we want to celebrate this Christmas
with joy," the prelates write.

The Christmas message-- which will be formally presented to
the press by the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah
of Jerusalem on December 20-- is signed by the leaders of
the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian
Apostolic, Coptic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches

To read the full text of the Message please visit: http://www.al-bushra.org/hedchrch/christmas1.html