The International Community of the Holy Sepulchre [ICoHS] has been created to provide practical support for the Christian Community in the Holy Land. ICoHS unites individuals and institutions and provide powerful and practical ways by which members contribute to and advocate for the Christian presence in the region. Furthermore, ICoHS helps the Churches raise international awareness of the challenges that Christians face in the Holy Land while promoting peace and the flourishing of all people in the Middle East.
ICoHS believes the Christian community is an essential part of the Holy Land's diverse cultural and religious fabric, past and present. Special efforts need to be made to maintain the region's vibrant character. To do this, ICoHS is developing an international body of support to aid Christian communities in the Holy Land and secure their continued presence.
In 2017 Church leaders across the Holy Land commissioned the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, to raise awareness of these issues with Heads of State, senior politicians and religious leaders around the world. Meetings were held with the Prince of Wales, King Abdullah II, the Prime Minister of Greece, as well as other Heads of State. In the US, the Patriarch engaged with the Office of the Vice President, the Ambassador for Religious Freedom, the State Department and Members of Congress. In the UK, he appealed to government ministers and members of Parliament.
As the issues affect all Christians in the Holy Land, meetings were also held with Pope Francis, Patriarchs and ecumenical leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth. Additionally, meetings were held with senior leaders in business and media along with a wide range of lobby groups and advocacy organisations.
The team, headed by the Patriarch, were warmly received and the vast majority of those they met willingly utilised their influence, resources and networks to lend support. The advocacy and support of these influential figures have already had a positive impact, but issues still continue to face the Christian community in the Holy Land. ICoHS continues to sustain and build on these efforts over the years to come.
To address these ongoing issues, ICoHS is cultivating a wide body of support, ranging from politicians, grassroots churches, interfaith organisations and concerned individuals to support and strengthen the Christian community in the Holy Land.
This community will benefit from regular communication, participate in special events, contribute to certain areas and support specific projects. To learn more about how you can get involved in ICoHS, please click here.
ICoHS is a registered charity in England and Wales (1187650).
Members of the St. Don Bosco Salesian Catholic youth scout group in Bethlehem