The Church of the Holy Sepulchre closed in protest of proposed property taxes, February 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
AMMAN (TNS) - Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III has thanked Jordanian King Abdullah on behalf of himself, the patriarchs and heads of the churches in Jerusalem and the Council of Churches in Jordan, for the help and support the king provided to the Christian community in the region during the recent crisis, a Royal Court statement said.
In a letter sent to King Abdullah, the Custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim and Christian holy sites, following the reopening of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre after Israel suspended a bill to tax church property, Theophilos III said that the defense of religious freedom and his efforts to ensure that the status quo in Jerusalem is preserved have been crucial in the ongoing attempts to guard and protect the Christian presence in the region, especially in the Jerusalem.
"Your [the king's] steadfastness, both personally and through Your Majesty's government, is highly appreciated and we pledge our continued commitment to peace, reconciliation, and co-existence in our beloved Holy Land and throughout the Middle East," the Patriarch said in his letter.
Christian leaders took the rare step of closing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem last week
in a bid to pressure Israeli authorities into abandoning the measures to tax the churches' property, Agence France-Presse reported.
Disappointed pilgrims pray outside closed doors of Holy Sepulchre Church, February 26, 2018 (Reuters)
The Jerusalem church, built at what many consider the holiest site in Christianity, remained closed for three days, the longest such closure since 1990.
Christian leaders decided to reopen the church after Israel on Tuesday suspended tax measures they oppose, according to AFP.
"On our behalf, on behalf of the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem and on behalf of the Council of Churches in Jordan, as well as Our clergy, our faithful and the many thousands of pilgrims who visit this region every year, We wish to express to You our gratitude for the help and support that You have given to us in the recent crisis that faced the Christian community of our region," the Patriarch's letter read.
———©2018, Jordan Times.
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