Christian leaders appeal to Mazuz

Patriarchs: Keeping Theophilos III out of church violated his religious freedom.

By MATTHEW WAGNER, JPOST STAFF
April 4, 2006 20:05
1 minute read.
Christian leaders appeal to Mazuz

greek orthodox 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Four Christian leaders have appealed to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz following an incident a month and a half ago in which the Greek Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III and hundreds of church members were not allowed to hold a special holiday prayer in an east Jerusalem church. Jerusalem police claimed that they kept Theophilos and his followers out in order to prevent a confrontation between the patriarch and deposed patriarch Irineos I, who was in the church at the time. Last May, Irineos was deposed by a Holy Synod that convened in Istanbul in May after he was accused of signing long-term leases on chunks of prime real estate in Jerusalem's Old City, including the Imperial Hotel and the Petra Hotel near Jaffa Gate, to Ateret Kohanim, an organization dedicated to creating a Jewish presence in Arab-populated areas of Jerusalem. Both Irineos and Ateret Kohanim deny the deals and an investigation conducted by the Palestinian Authority backed up Irineos. But due to internal Greek politics and a power play within the Greek Church, the accusations against Irineos were used to oust him. Nevertheless, the deal was used by Irineos's enemies to turn the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Greece against him. Irineos's Arab flock, about 35,000 inside the Green Line, another 20,000 in Judea and Samaria and perhaps 100,000 more in Jordan and as far east as the Arab Emirates, also did not like the rumors about the land deal. Greece, Jordan and the PA have recognized the ousting of Irineos and the appointment of Theophilus. Israel has not. Theophilos and his church members, who were forced to pray outside the church, viewed the police's refusal to allow them to enter the church as an insult and a violation of their religious freedom. "We see every stopping worshippers from entering a church to pray as a serious problem that affects all the churches under our auspices," the letter, signed by the Greek Orthodox patriarch, the Roman Catholic patriarch, the Armenian patriarch, and the leader of the Franciscan order in the Holy Land, declared. Mazuz was asked to bring the church leaders' position to the relevant government officials in order to assure that such incidences do not reoccur.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN