Often called the Church of Zion, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem is a part of the wider Eastern Orthodox communion. Its headquarters is in Jerusalem, but it also has offices in other parts of the world.
Table of Contents
- Patriarch Sophronius surrendered Jerusalem to CaliphUmar
- The doctrine of the Incarnation occupies a central position in the teachings of the Orthodox Church
- Patriarch Theophilos III warns of an “assault” on the church
- Patriarch Theophilos III has rented Church properties to Jewish investors for a period of 198 years
- Patriarch Theophilos III has a political agenda
Patriarch Sophronius surrendered Jerusalem to CaliphUmar
Patriarch Sophronius was the leader of the Christian Church in Jerusalem during the Islamic conquests of the seventh century. He refused to surrender the city to Muslim forces until Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab came to accept it.
In early 637, Arab armies arrived in the area around Jerusalem. They quickly established Arab hegemony in the region. They also converted much of the population. They transformed institutions, architecture, and language. The Arab conquerors of the Holy Land were the vanguard of a new religion. Their rule over the area was a welcome change from the previous Byzantines.
Caliph Umar was a pious Muslim. His reign over Jerusalem was marked by religious tolerance and the preservation of Christian holy sites. He lived by ascetic values and did not wear finery when celebrating his victories. He was also exceptionally humble. His conquest of Jerusalem was relatively bloodless.
The doctrine of the Incarnation occupies a central position in the teachings of the Orthodox Church
During the first eight centuries of the Church, seven Ecumenical Councils were held in eastern cities. These synods of bishops from all over the Christian world proclaimed Church beliefs. They did not, however, create new doctrines.
The Bible claims that the Word of God became incarnate to bring many sons to glory. That’s a pretty big claim, and is no small feat. However, the Ecumenical Councils did not attempt to create new doctrines.
The first Christian communities were established in lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The Gospel of Christ was first preached in the east, and it was not long before these communities started to grow throughout the eastern reaches of the old Roman Empire. The Orthodox Church is an heir to the Eastern tradition, and today’s Orthodox are discovering the rich traditions of their predecessors.
Patriarch Theophilos III warns of an “assault” on the church
Patriarch Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, has warned that the Church may be targeted by an “assault”. He said this would have a catastrophic effect on the Greek orthodox church. He warned against new legislation that would hinder open access to religious sites in Jerusalem.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate owns lands in the Holy Land, including a large stake in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, which is the traditional tomb of Jesus. It also owns 30 percent of Jerusalem’s walled Old City.
The Greek Patriarchate has long been involved in legal battles with settler groups over property in Jerusalem. The Patriarchate’s spokesperson said the bill in the Knesset was linked to settlers. It would also restrict churches’ rights to deal with their lands.
Patriarch Theophilos III has rented Church properties to Jewish investors for a period of 198 years
Hundreds of Palestinians in Jerusalem have protested against Greek Orthodox Church leaders for selling land to Jewish settlers. They claim the Patriarch of Jerusalem has colluded with a settler group, Ateret Cohanim, which has been working to evict Palestinians from the Old City of Jerusalem.
In July, 14 local Orthodox institutions cut off contacts with Theophilos. A Palestinian Christian, Ghassan Munayyer, has said that the money that the Church sells to settler groups will not be used to support the local flock. He has also denounced the Church for selling land to Jewish developers.
In 2005, a lawsuit was filed against Irineos and his representative, accusing them of conspiring to sell land to the settlers. The court ruled that the agreement was legal. But a representative for Irineos fled the country and signed agreements for a $1m bribe.
Patriarch Theophilos III has a political agenda
Patriarch Theophilos III is a leading figure of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. He heads a large, predominantly Arab Christian flock in Israel and Jordan. He was elected as 141st Primate of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem in 2005. His election was endorsed by the Jordanian government, the Palestinian National Authority, and the Eastern Orthodox Church of Constantinople.
He was enthroned on November 22, 2005, by the Holy Synod of the Church of Jerusalem. He was named a member of the Patriarchal School, a supervisor at St. Charalambos monastery, and a teacher at the Patriarchal School.
Patriarch Theophilos III is an advocate of international public diplomacy. He has worked to defend his record and condemn the actions of the Israeli government. He has also met with high-level church leaders around the world.