On the anniversary of the Peshawar church bombings, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for prayers for all those suffering under persecution around the world.
Archbishop Justin Welby, said he has been “appalled to hear and see evidence of the hatred, violence and persecution” that Christians face across Pakistan.
The Archbishop said in a statement, “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who were bereaved and injured in these terrible attacks. As we have done, so must we continue to pray fervently for Jesus Christ to comfort all those whose lives were changed forever by these evil acts. We must continue to pray and call for justice, and for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people there,” adding that Christians in Peshawar offered forgiveness to their oppressors in the days following the attack.
“With one year passed, we should reflect again in awe on this profound witness to Christ by our brothers and sisters in their darkest moment of suffering. As we reflect on the Peshawar martyrs, and their families, and all those injured in those shocking attacks, we do so knowing with deep concern that the often deadly persecution of Christians and other minorities has further escalated in many places, especially Iraq and Syria.
“We look back knowing that our prayers are needed with fresh urgency, as we cry them out to a God who shares deeply in the pain, anxiety, suffering and despair of all those persecuted for their beliefs,” he continued.
The Archbishop also urged Christians to “pray fervently to the God of peace and justice…that those who suffer persecution will know relief; that those who do harm will know justice; and that all people – both our friends and our enemies – will know God’s peace and love in Jesus Christ.”
At least 200 people, including children and women were killed in twin suicide bombings outside All Saints Church, Peshawar after a Sunday service on 22 September last year.