Jordan hopes for resolution with Greek patriarch

Jordan expressed hope Monday that it would soon resolve the controversy over Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox patriarch and his purported failure to annul an unsanctioned sale of church property to Israel. Last month, Jordan withdrew its recognition of Theophilos III, head of Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Church, saying he had failed to act on the controversial east Jerusalem land deal with Israel concluded by his predecessor, Irineos I. Jordanian recognition of the patriarch is required under church law, which dictates that he must have the blessing of the Holy Land's ruling powers - Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Israel has also refused to recognize the patriarch. Chief government spokesman Nasser Judeh told reporters Monday that while Jordan "doesn't interfere in the internal affairs of the Orthodox Church, there is a law, and it has to be respected."