On the morning of Tuesday, the 26th of October/8th of November, St Demetrius feast-day, Israeli settlers, members of the Ateret Cohanim extreme right organization, striving to liberate the Holy Land from non-Jewish elements and, in the same spirit, seizing Patriarchal property opposite the Church of the Resurrection in 1991, namely St John Hostel – in breach of a judicial agreement and deceiving the Israeli Police in Jerusalem, set an iron fence and broke the roof on the Dependency of Gethsemane opposite the Church of the Resurrection in order to gain access inside.

Hagiotaphite Fathers, Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis, Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Archimandrite Mathew and others, led by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, strongly protested to the Israeli Police on the breach of a court to maintain the situation in the hostel, as well as on the violation of the status quo in the Church of the Resurrection, seeing that the aforesaid chapel stands within its area. The Israeli Police, in collaboration with the Patriarchate, removed settlers from the room whereas, on the following day, the issue was resolved by means of a court order.

On the morning of Wednesday, the 27th of October/9th of November 2016, Patriarch Theophilos, accompanied by Greek Consul Christos Sofianopoulos and the aforementioned Hagiotaphite Fathers, in collaboration with the Israeli Police, agreed to have legal advisors of both sides work together to restore changes on the condition that the pilgrimage status will henceforth be protected from violation.

From the Secretariat-General