Israel BOMBS historic Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza – world’s third oldest church

The world’s third oldest church was bombed by Israel this week as part of the regime’s scorched-earth assault on Gaza in response to the Hamas false flag attack on October 7.

According to reports, numerous people were killed and a “large number” were injured after Israel bombed the historic Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza, which served as a sanctuary for displaced Palestinians with nowhere else to go.

The strike by Israel left a “large number of martyrs and injured,” the Palestinian enclave interior ministry confirmed. The dead bodies of at least 16 Christian Palestinians have thus far been found in the rubble.

Witnesses told the AFP news agency that the Israeli air raid appeared to have been aimed at a target close to the 12th-century place of worship where many Gaza residents, both Muslim and Christian, had taken refuge following Israel’s warning about an impending ground invasion.

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(Related: Did you know that the Israeli Knesset, part of Netanyahu’s cabinet, wants to outlaw the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Israel? It is already illegal to preach Jesus to children there, and now the Pharisees want to make it illegal period, punishable with prison.)

IDF minimizes death of dozens of Christians from Israeli rockets: “a wall of a church in the area was damaged”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that the Israeli military did, in fact, strike the church, though it tried to minimize the fallout by stating that “as a result of the IDF [Israeli army] strike, a wall of a church in the area was damaged.”

“We are aware of reports on casualties,” the IDF further confirmed. “The incident is under review.”

Saint Porphyrius, by the way, is Gaza’s oldest church, having been built in 1150. It is located in a historic neighborhood of Gaza City, offering refuge and sanctuary for Christians, Muslims, and really anyone who is displaced and in need, showing Christian charity to all.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a statement following the blast, expressing its “strongest condemnation” against the Israeli military.

“Targeting churches and their institutions, along with the shelters they provide to protect innocent citizens, especially children and women who have lost their homes due to Israeli airstrikes on residential areas over the past 13 days, constitutes a war crime that cannot be ignored,” the patriarchate said.

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Israel, meanwhile, is expressing zero remorse while trying to justify the church as an appropriate target because there are supposedly “terrorists” hiding out on the property.

“Hamas intentionally embeds its assets in civilian areas and uses the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields,” the IDF claims, conveniently for itself, about why it feels justified in blowing up Christian and Muslim civilians simply seeking refuge.

It cannot be stressed enough that the Saint Porphyrius has long served as a refuge to not just Christians but to anyone in need, which demonstrates the love of Jesus Christ that is completely absent from, and that stands in direct contrast to, Israel’s approach to life and humanity.

Local Palestinian Muslim resident Walaa Sobeh, whose residence was destroyed in the same air raid – she lives right around the corner from the badly damaged church – said Saint Porphyrius was a sanctuary where everyone was made to feel like “one family.”

“We are here living the day, not sure if we can make it to the night,” Sobeh laments. “But what eases our pain is the humble and warm spirit of everyone around.”

Sobeh would add that she and others continue to receive “enormous support from the priests and other people in the church who volunteer tirelessly around the clock to help the displaced families.”

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