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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsBesieged Christians in Gaza's Greek Orthodox Church Receive Christmas Aid

Besieged Christians in Gaza’s Greek Orthodox Church Receive Christmas Aid

Gaza's Greek Orthodox Church
A Jordanian plane parachuted the supplies to the people stranded in the Church. Credit: Jordan TV

Christians sheltering in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Porphyrius in northern Gaza received food and humanitarian aid on Christmas Eve from the Air Force of Jordan.

A plane parachuted the supplies to the people stranded in the Church as King Abdullah II lamented the absence of joy and peace in the region this Christmas.

About 800 Gazan Christians are believed to have sought refuge in the centuries-old Greek Orthodox church as Israel conducts a military offensive that has devastated the Palestinian territory.

More than 20,000 people have been killed and most of the population displaced by Israel’s war on Gaza’s Hamas rulers, which began on October 7 after the militant group killed about 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostage in attacks in southern Israel.

“While the world celebrates Christmas, joy and peace are absent among Christian people in the Holy Land, which cannot enjoy peace in light of the brutal aggression against the people in Gaza and the restrictions on worshipers in Jerusalem and Bethlehem,” King Abdullah said.

“Our wishes for peace to our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine and the world,” the monarch said in a post on his official X account on Sunday evening.

“Given the ongoing Israeli war that has clouded the Christmas spirit, this seventh airdrop from Jordan is a show of support for our Christian brothers in the Gaza Strip,” a Jordanian military official said.

In October the 1,600-year-old Greek Orthodox Church which was sheltering hundreds of displaced Palestinians was hit by an Israeli air strike. The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem said, and Palestinian health officials confirmed that 16 people were killed.

The Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza

The Church of Saint Porphyrios is an ancient and sizable place of worship in the region. It is believed to be the third oldest church in the world.

The original temple at this location dates back to 425 CE. However, the current church was built by the Crusaders around the 1150s. Historical records from the 15th century also mention its dedication to the Virgin Mary. It has been preserved throughout time and was restored in 1856.

Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza
The ancient 1,600-year-old Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrios in the Gaza Strip. Credit: Dan Palraz / CC-BY-SA-4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

While some architectural elements such as cornices and bases can be traced back to the Crusader period, many other parts of the church were added at later dates.

The church’s walls, constructed from time-worn limestone, offer a refuge with their ability to provide warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer.

Saint Porphyrios is especially significant for Christians, as he valiantly opposed polytheistic religions that once held sway in Gaza and the broader Levant.

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