With shock and great distress, the Conference of European Churches has received news of the attack in the church of St-Etienne-du-Rouvray (France). The violent attack resulted in the death of Fr Jacques Hamel and two other persons. Several members of the congregation were also wounded, one critically.
Fr. Jacques gave his life while officiating the Holy Eucharist. He was known as a man of reconciliation and dialogue with people of all faiths and none. "He exemplifies the Christian understanding of martyrdom," reflected CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen. "Of the victory over the dark powers of violence and death and the eternal perspective created by love and experienced through the eucharistic gathering."
The Conference of European Churches joins with the "cry to God" by the Catholic archbishop of Rouen, Mgr Dominique Lebrun. With him we invite all people of goodwill, of all faiths and none to be strengthened in prayer and community. CEC shall continue its mission according to the Gospel, by welcoming all people in trust and with open arms. "This is the only way we can face the root causes of terror, fear, and enmity," continued Fr Heikki. "We are called to build an atmosphere of encounter, dialogue and respect towards all identities that make up our European reality."