The Archbishop of Canterbury responded on Twitter and with presidents of Churches Together in England to the murder of the Rev. Jacques Hamel at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France.

The priest, 85, was killed July 26 by two men wielding knives during morning Mass. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

“Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth & love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. Pray for France, for victims, for their communities,” Archbishop Justin Welby wrote on Twitter that morning.

The archbishop, along with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Free Church, Quaker, and Pentecostal leaders, issued a letter condemning the attack and calling for prayers.

The full statement of the Churches Together in England presidents follows:

We are deeply saddened to learn of the brutal murder of our brother, 84-year-old priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Rouen, France. That a man of peace who had dedicated his life to serving people could be killed during Mass is testimony to the evil that drives the actions of those who commit such a crime. We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and parishioners. We pray for the wellbeing of those who were taken hostage, their families, and the entire community served by Fr. Jacques; indeed we pray for the peace of France, Europe, the Middle East, and the world for which Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave his own life.

We call upon all people of goodwill to pray and work for justice and peace. In particular, we implore everyone to help people everywhere to pursue the path of peace and human flourishing — which is the will of Creator God.

  • Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
  • The Rev. Hugh Osgood, Free Churches Moderator
  • HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, President for the Orthodox Churches
  • The Rev. Canon Billy Kennedy, President nominated by the New Churches, the Religious Society of Friends and the Lutheran and German-speaking Churches
  • Bishop Eric Brown, Pentecostal President

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