Ex-US Congressman Mourns Relatives Killed in Israeli Strike on Ancient Gaza Church

A Palestine Chronicle file photo from the last Christmas celebration at St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza. (Photo: Mahmoud, Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

Former Michigan Congressman Justin Amash announced on Friday that his relatives were among those killed at the Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza City, when its meeting hall was hit by Israeli bombs.

“With great sadness, I have now confirmed that several of my relatives (including Viola and Yara pictured here) were killed at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, where they had been sheltering,” Amash said on social media platform X, posting a photo of the two young women.

“The Palestinian Christian community has endured so much. Our family is hurting badly. May God watch over all Christians in Gaza – and all Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering, whatever their religion or creed,” the former congressman added.

Amash was born in the US to Palestinian and Syrian Christian parents. He represented Michigan’s 3rd congressional district from 2011 to 2021. He had commented on the bombing of St. Porphyrius on Thursday evening, correctly stating that the ancient church had been “damaged from a blast.”

What We Know about St. Porphyrius Church that Israel Bombed in Gaza – PHOTOS

According to Archbishop Tiberias Alexios of the Greek Orthodox Church, the bombs struck the buildings adjacent to St. Porphyrios, where the church offices, monastery and the meeting hall were located.

The buildings collapsed from the damage, burying some of the 400 people sheltering inside.

Funerals for 16 people killed in the attack were held on Friday.

Believed to be the third oldest church in the world, the St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox church was originally founded in 425 CE.

St. Porphyrius was named after 5th-century Bishop Porphyrius, who shepherded the Christian community in Gaza 1,500 years ago. His tomb rests in the northeastern corner of the church.

IN PHOTOS: Palestine’s Eastern Christians Celebrate Christmas

St. Porphyrius is the only Greek Orthodox church in Gaza. There are three churches in Gaza, the Gaza Baptist Church, the Holy Family Catholic Church, and St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church.

(PC, RT, Social Media)

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