At the end of days marked by violence and inter-community clashes, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, presided over a prayer vigil for peace, requested by Pope Francis himself, in the Basilica of St Stephen of the Dominicans in Jerusalem.

Our basilica was full, for the first time in a long time because of the pandemic, to pray for an end to violence and for peace. The Patriarch recalled the conditions: “Jerusalem belongs to all, Christians, Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians. All with the same rights and dignity, all equal citizens. Any exclusion or imposition hurts the city’s identity and cannot be silenced or ignored… We will have to work with the many people, of all faiths, who still believe in and are committed to a common future.”

These words have great meaning as we have witnessed a week of great violence on our doorstep and trembled for our collaborators in Gaza where the School has been conducting archaeological excavations on Byzantine sites for the past twenty years.