– un grup de crestin-ortodocsi din Iordania au protestat din nou (acum la Amman), cerand reformarea Patriarhiei Ierusalimului prin „arabizarea” ierarhiei. Ei aduc ca argument hotararea Patriarhiei din 1958, in care se stipula ca Sinodul sa fie format din 18 membri, care sa aiba cetatenie iordaniana, dintre care cel putin doi ierarhi sa fie originari din Iordania. Momentan, in Sinodul Patriarhiei Ierusalimului activeaza doar un singur episcop iordanian. De asemenea, cer ca grecii sa le permita ortodocsilor arabi sa devina monahi *(in cadrul Patriarhiei Ierusalimului).
– Patriarhul Teofil al III-lea este acuzat de protestatari ca nu si-a respectat promisiunile facute Guvernului Iordanian si Autoritatii Palestiniene inca de la alegerea sa, cum ca nu va mai repeta greseala predecesorului sau (fostul Patriarh Irineu, depus din treapta si apoi exilat) de a concesiona (pe multi ani) evreilor pamant in Ierusalim (detinut de Patriarhie, pe care se afla actualmente ridicate imobilele guvernului israelian). Patriarhul isi poate pierde astfel recunoasterea din partea Guvernului Iordaniei, lucru esential pentru legitimarea sa ca Patriarh, el avand in acest sens nevoie de trei recunoasteri: din partea Iordaniei, a Autoritatii Palestiniene si a Israelului *(teritoriul canonic al Patriarhiei).
– In 2009 o companie israeliana a inchiriat de la Patriarhia Ierusalimului 71 parcele de teren situate intre Ierusalim si Betleem, pentru 99 de ani; iar la inceputul acestui an Patriarhia a reinnoit cu partea israeliana contractul de inchiriere pentru terenurile situate in Ierusalimul de Vest, pana in anul 2150. Prin aceste fapte, spun protestatarii, Patriarhul Teofil „garanteaza recunoasterea Israelului”.
– Patriarhia Ierusalimului a catalogat protestul ca facand parte dintr-o „campanie de defaimare a Bisericii”
Greek Orthodox Christians renew calls for Arabising church leadership
The Jordan Times / 31 may 2011
AMMAN – Jordanian members of the Greek Orthodox Church have renewed calls for Patriarch Theophilus III to step down and for Arabising the leadership of the Greek-led church.
In a protest held outside the Amman archdiocese on Sunday evening, hundreds of Orthodox Christians accused the Greek patriarch of failing to honour previous commitments and marginalising Arabs inside the Church – an umbrella of believers in Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
They denounced recent accords between Israel and the Jerusalem-based Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to renew contracts leasing Church-owned land on which key Israeli government institutions are situated and called for revoking them.
In 2009, followers of the Church from both sides of the Jordan River took part in a series of protests against Theophilus III, charging he did not meet commitments he made to the Jordanian government and the Palestinian Authority when he came to office six years ago, replacing Irenios I, who was dismissed over sales of church land in Jerusalem to Israeli investors.
Any patriarch has to have the blessings of Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel in order to gain legitimacy. Theophilus III has pledged to stop land sales to the Israelis and present a comprehensive list of all church assets to the Jordanian government.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is in charge of following up on the Orthodox issue, revealed that earlier this year the patriarchate renewed the lease for land in West Jerusalem until the year 2150.
The headquarters of the Israeli presidency, government and Knesset are situated on the rented land, located in the Talbiyeh neighbourhood, PLO member Hanna Amireh told The Jordan Times over the phone from the West Bank.
“Our position is clear: We condemn this renewal and call on the patriarchate to revoke it,” he said, adding that he believes Theophilus III signed the renewal accord to “guarantee Israel’s recognition”.
In April 2009, an Israeli company rented 71 dunums of land in the Mar Elias area between Jerusalem and Bethlehem from the Orthodox Patriarchate on a 99-year renewable contract, according to the Amman-based Orthodox Society.
“We are fed up with the Greek rule… this tyranny should end,” Raouf Abu Jaber, president of the Central Orthodox Council, told the protesters.
Arab Orthodox Christians also demand a greater say in the church’s decision-making bodies, and allowing Arabs to become monks. They accuse the patriarchate of violating the 1958 law of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, under which the Holy Synod must be composed of 18 members who hold Jordanian citizenship, with at least two originally Jordanian bishops or archbishops.
There has been only one Jordanian member in the synod, while the patriarchate has claimed the appointment of a second was difficult due to the Israeli occupation.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Taher Odwan urged the protesters to contact the authorities.
“The congregation should address the government in writing so that they can take suitable measures,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.
The 2009 protests began after Jordanian Archimandrite Hanna (Christoforos) Atallah was dismissed from his post as the church court’s vice president, which the patriarchate deemed “an internal affair with no personal agenda”.
In 2007, Atallah was one of three Arab clergymen whose salaries were suspended for taking part in a meeting in Amman that called for the revoking Theophilus’ recognition because he did not fulfil his commitments.
The patriarchate has not recognised a convent established by Atallah in 1998 in Dibbeen, near the northern city of Jerash, which also angered the Amman protesters, who came from several cities across the Kingdom.
“For decades we have been calling for legitimate rights that are backed by Jordanian laws,” said Ehab Khoury, a 32-year-old protester, adding that they will not stop demonstrating “until we obtain our rights”.
Arabising the church
Many congregation members also want the Greek leadership of the church replaced by an Arab one who “can better understand our needs and rights”. But for others, what matters are their demands, and not the identity of top clerics in Jerusalem.
“Arabising the church is on our list of demands, but is now difficult due to the [Israeli] occupation,” noted Nidal Kakish, member of the Central Council for the Arab Orthodox in Jordan and Palestine.
Amireh explained that since most of the church property is situated in Israel, this “makes it difficult to talk about the Arabisation now”.
“Our goal is to reform this church, not to topple it,” he said.
The patriarchate issued a statement on Monday defending its stance, and describing the protest as part of a “defamation campaign” targeting the church.
“Answers to the questions raised by the protest organisers are clear, and if they included these answers in their sit-in, it would have become a rally in support of the church and its ability to survive in the middle of all the storms,” the statement quoted the patriarchate’s spokesperson, Father Issa Misleh, as saying.
Despite several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact Misleh yesterday, he could not be reached for comment.