PALESTINIANS IRKED BY CONDUCT OF NEW PATRIARCH
The Palestinian leadership is concerned that the new Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, is allowing property near Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem to fall into Jewish hands.
Amil Jarjou’i, a member of the Palestinian parliament, circulated a message to media outlets on Wednesday explaining that the leadership was disturbed by Theophilos’ conduct.
Theophilos was appointed patriarch a year ago. His predecessor, Irineos, was the first Greek Orthodox patriarch to be ousted from the Greek Orthodox Church, after he was accused of leasing property to companies thought to be linked to a Jewish fund.
The land in question has immense historical, religious, strategic and political significance. If and when talks between Israel and the Palestinians on the status of Jerusalem begin, this area would prove to be highly significant.
The patriarch of the Greek-Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is considered one of the highest ranks in the church, second only to the patriarch of Constantinople.
A year after the new patriarch was appointed, Jarjou’i said it was his “moral and national obligation” to point out that the new patriarch had not lived up to his obligations to cancel previous agreements regarding property around Jaffa Gate.
Also, he said there were increasing concerns about media reports suggesting that additional property, both inside and outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, was being given away without letting the church’s Arab subjects into the decision-making process.
The church’s previous position, Jarjou’i wrote, bore results “which we cannot accept, nor live with.” He called for an emergency meeting to grant the Arab subjects their rights.
The London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the MP met Theophilos twice to discuss this issue, but the meeting did not yield positive results.