[photo of the cemetery at Mt. Zion in Jerusalem]

The Desecration of Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem

This letter was sent on January 17, 2023.

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
[email protected]

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

As church leaders we are grateful for the ongoing commitment of the government of Canada to human rights around the world. We are particularly grateful for the ongoing support of the special and historic status of Jerusalem as a city sacred to the Abrahamic faiths, including Christianity. It is in light of that support that we write to express our deep concern for the recent desecration of the Protestant cemetery on Mt. Zion, currently under the oversight of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem.

In recent years attacks on the Christian community and their places of worship have increased in frequency and severity. Only a few months ago St. Andrew’s Church, Ramallah was raided by Israeli forces seeking the offices of a human rights organization, Al-Haq, which rented space in the building but had a separate entrance. Archbishop Hosam Naoum spoke of the fear and terror for those living in the compound in the midst of the two hour occupation of their church. Religious spaces are expected to be safe from intrusion.

Together, Bishop Susan Johnson and Archbishop Linda Nicholls made a visit to the Holy Land in December 2022 where they heard from church leaders about the increasing fragility of the Christian presence, which is primarily Palestinian, in light of these acts of violence. We stand with Archbishop Naoum and others calling for joint efforts by local religious and political leaders to combat acts of defilement against sacred sites, and to create a safer, more respectful and tolerant environment in Jerusalem, which is revered by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

We urge the government of Canada to express its concern for the safety and dignity of the Christian community in the Holy Land and to support the right to security of its people, buildings and property.

As in Archbishop Nicholls’ letter to Minister Melanie Joly on August 24, 2022, concerning the Israeli military’s attack on St. Andrew’s Church, Ramallah, we believe Canada’s continued silence on the escalation of assaults of various kinds against Christians by Israel’s religious extremists and illegal settlers, emboldens such violations of international law and universal human rights.

While we are encouraged by Israel’s condemnation of the vandalism to the Mount Zion cemetery, and the arrest of perpetrators, we remained concerned and seek an opportunity to discuss these matters with you.


[signed] +Linda Nicholls
The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

[signed] +Susan C Johnson
Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

We endorse this letter from Anglican Primate and Archbishop Linda Nicholls and ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and urge the government of Canada to express its concern for the safety and dignity of the Christian community in the Holy Land and to support the right to security of its people, buildings and property.

Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada, The Canadian Orthodox Church, Archdiocese of Canada/
Archevêque d’Ottawa et du Canada, L’Église orthodoxe du Canada, Archidiocèse du Canada

Tim McCoy
Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec

Ruth Pincoe
Presiding Clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

The Rev. Doug Klassen
Executive Minister, Mennonite Church of Canada

The Rev. Dr. Robert Faris
Moderator of the 147th General Assembly
The Presbyterian Church of Canada/L’Église presbytérienne au Canada

The Rev. Victor S. J. Kim
Principal Clerk of the General Assembly
The Presbyterian Church of Canada/L’Église presbytérienne au Canada

Commissioner Floyd J. Tidd
Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army

+Lawrence Huculak
Archbishop and Metropolitan of Winnipeg, Ukranian Catholic Church in Canada
Archeveque et Metropolite de Winnipeg, Eglise catholique ukrainienne du Canada

The Right Reverend Dr. Carmen Lansdowne
Moderator, The United Church of Canada/ L’Église Unie du Canada


The Hon. Mélanie Joly, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
[email protected]
[email protected]

Conservative Party of Canada
The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, P.C., M.P.
[email protected]

New Democratic Party of Canada
Jagmeet Singh, M.P.
[email protected]

Bloc Quebecois
Yves-Francois Blanchet, M.P.
[email protected]

The Hon. Michael Chong, Critic for Foreign Affairs, Conservative Party of Canada, P.C., M.P. [email protected]

The Hon. Rob Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, P.C., M.P. [email protected]

Heather McPherson, Critic for Foreign Affairs, New Democratic Party, M.P. [email protected]

Elizabeth May, Co-leader, Green Party of Canada, M.P.,
[email protected]

Stéphane Bergeron, Critic for Foreign Affairs, Bloc Québécois,  M.P. [email protected]

David Da Silva, Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority [email protected]

Lisa Stadelbauer, Ambassador of Canada to the State of Israel [email protected]

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”