Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has added its voice to calls by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem for peace in the Holy land following two days of atrocities and fierce fighting.

Regina Lynch, International Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN),on Monday 9th October expressed the Charity’s deep concern and sadness over the escalation of violence in the Holy Land, which has led to more than 1,000 deaths and more than 4,000 cases of serious injury.

Ms Lynch said: “Let us pray with faith and trust that God will hear our prayers and grant us his peace.

“Let us pray with love and compassion that our prayers will touch the hearts of those involved in the conflict and inspire them to seek peaceful ways.

“Let us pray with hope and perseverance that our prayers will contribute to the building of a better future for the Holy Land, where justice, peace and reconciliation will prevail.”

ACN’s International Executive President expressed the charity’s solidarity with all those who had lost relatives during the violence.

She said: “We share the sorrow of the families who have lost their loved ones and the distress of those who are injured or at risk.

“We pray to God to give them his consolation, his courage, and his hope. We pray for the healing and comfort of all those who are suffering from violence, fear and grief.”

Ms Lynch said ACN felt close to fellow Christians in the region and asked for prayers for them at this time, especially those “who are suffering as well under the violence of extremists”.

ACN’s International Executive President added: “This vicious circle of hatred and killing brings this sacred land back to the darkest times of its recent history and threatens to destroy any hope of peace and stability for the Christians of this region.”

Ms Lynch emphasised that “As Christians, we believe that prayer is a powerful weapon against evil and a source of hope and healing.

“That is why we invite you to join us in a campaign of prayers for peace in the Holy Land.

“We join the call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem for the immediate cessation of hostilities.”

And, following his Angelus address in St Peter’s Square on Sunday 8 October, Pope Francis expressed his sorrow over the situation and called for prayers for peace.

He said: “I express my closeness to the families and victims. I am praying for them and for all who are living hours of terror and anguish. May the attacks and weaponry cease. Please.

“And let it be understood that terrorism and war do not lead to any resolutions, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people. War is a defeat. Every war is a defeat.”