ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR OF THE ARMENIAN CLERGYMEN OF JERUSALEM
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem protests strongly against the unacceptable behaviour of the Armenian clergymen of Jerusalem, and denounces them internationally.
Beyond other problems created by the Armenians in the Holy Fire Ceremony and the annual cleaning of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, today, the forth time in one year, they violently pushed the Greek Orthodox Guardian outside the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre.
The presence of the Guardian of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Edicule during the procession of the Armenians around the Holy Sepulchre, at their feast of the Holy Cross, the 1st Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday and Holy Saturday is an inalienable right of the Orthodox witnessed by written sources of the past and certified by experienced Greek priests of the present and members of the other Christian Communities of the Holy Land.
Despite discussions on the issue in the framework of the Status Quo Committee consisting of the Greek Orthodox, the Franciscans and the Armenians, despite correspondence conducted, despite a photograph of an Orthodox clergyman inside the Edicule at their feast of the Holy Cross in the year 1991, despite our arguments in front of the Holy Sepulchre today, the Armenians were not convinced to allow our guardian to enter the Edicule. So the only solution for us to support our right was to prevent them by a peaceful protest to finish their procession.
At this moment the Armenians, disrespecting the sacredness of the place, hit and wounded Greek Orthodox monks, and burst out in criminal violence against the Israel Police. The videoscoped scenes speak eloquently and thus no comment on them is necessary.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem remains unshakeable in support of its indisputable rights over the Holy Shrines, faithful to the principles of respect for the Status Quo and for a solution of the problems concerning the Holy Shrines through dialogue, and regrets the scandalizing of the consciences of the people because of this episode which we tried by all means to avoid.
Chief Secretary Office
Of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Sunday, November 9th, 2008