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Archbishop: pastoral letter to Anglican Primates

Monday 24th March 2003

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has written to the most senior Bishops and Archbishops of the worldwide Anglican Church to express his concerns about the conflict in Iraq and his hope for a positive future for the region.

In his letter to the Primates of the Anglican Church's 38 Provinces, Dr Williams spoke of his concern for Christian communities of the Middle East, and of his prayers for them and their neighbours of other faiths. Acknowledging Iraq as the homeland of Abraham, Dr Williams also voiced hopes for reconciliation and justice in the region.

The text of the letter:

We have entered on a time of acute suffering for some and of anxiety for all peoples and nations round the world. As leaders of our Churches within the Anglican Communion, we must pray that, whatever the many and varied misgivings expressed, the military action now being undertaken may help to bring about a more stable future for the whole region, with justice for all.

We shall be thinking especially of our fellow Christians throughout the Middle East, and praying that they and their neighbours who belong to other faiths will find the strength and vision to go on working for a shared future of understanding and respect. Let us also hold in our prayers Christians in others parts of the world, who may feel vulnerable and uncertain at this time of tension.

Those in the front line of conflict and their families face particular challenges; and in praying for them and those who seek to support, let us also remember the many clergy from different countries who are charged with pastoral responsibility for men and women on active service.

The prayers of the whole world will be focused in the days ahead on hopes for an early end to armed conflict and a settlement that will honour the freedom and dignity of the people of Iraq.

May God our redeemer bring good out of the passions and tragedies that have scarred that country, the first homeland of Abraham our father in faith. With Abraham, we look forward to 'the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God'. Let us commit ourselves to working under God for the signs of that city to become manifest among us in reconciliation and justice.

With my love and prayers,


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