Jordan asked to reconsider Jerusalem Patriarch

The World Council of Churches on Wednesday called on Jordan to reconsider its recent decision not to recognize the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. Jordan withdrew its recognition of Theophilos III - head of Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Church - on May 13, saying he had failed to annul an unsanctioned sale of church property to Israel. The Greek Orthodox Church abides by a 1958 Jordanian law banning the sale of any church land or property in Jerusalem, which Jordan ruled along with the West Bank until Israel seized the territories during the Six-Day War. In a letter to Jordan's Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit, the council head, Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, expressed "fear that such a decision might lead to a division among the Orthodox Christian community in Jordan and Palestine with negative ecclesial and sociopolitical consequences."