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THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED PRELATES

On Thursday, the 3rd/16th of May 2013, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem held a regular meeting to discuss a number of topics. 

Among such topics was the long ongoing captivity of kidnapped churchmen, their Eminences Paul, Metropolitan of Aleppo and Alexandretta, brother of his Beatitude John, the Patriarch of Antioch, and Gregorios, the Bishop of Aleppo, a Prelate of the Syrian Church.

The Holy and Sacred Synod, having once more strongly condemned this unacceptable and illegal action, calls for the immediate and unconditional liberation of the two aforementioned clerics on the basis of the inalienable right to human freedom and for the prevalence of peace and conciliation in the country of Syria and the wider Middle East region.

The Secretariat- General




THE GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM EXPRESSES ITS SOLIDARITY WITH THE ABDUCTED ARCHBISHOPS IN SYRIA.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem expresses its profound sorrow to the abduction of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Halab and Alexandretta Mr. Pavlos, the brother of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch Ioannis, and the Syrian Metropolitan of Halab Mr. Gregorios.

Moreover, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly denounces and condemns this unjust act and hopes and prays from the Holy Tomb of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the speedy and immediate release of the above mentioned high ranked clergymen and for the peace, stability, and co-existence in country of Syria.

Chief Secretary’s Office.




MINUTES (PRAKTIKON) OF THE DELEGATION OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF ROMANIA & OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM.

On the 20th and 21st  of February 2013, an official delegation of the Romanian Patriarchate consisting of His Eminence Metropolitan Nifon, Archbishop of Târgovişte and Patriarchal Exarch, Rev. Prof. Dr. Viorel Ioniţă and Rev. Fr. Michael Tiţa, Patriarchal counsellor, was received by His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of the Committee of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem made up of His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Chief Secretary, His Eminence Archbishop Theophylaktos of Jordan, Patriarchal Representative in Bethlehem and Rev. Archimandrite Galaction, Superior in Ramalla.

The visit was also due to the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate aimed at mediating in clarifying aspects of the relations between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Romanian Patriarchate.

After discussions in a spirit of Christian Orthodox communion, the two sides agreed on the following points ad referendum to the Holy Synod:

  1. The Memorandum signed in Bucharest on the 11th of December 2012 between the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Romanian Patriarchate was accepted as the basis of the present Minutes.
  2. The restoration of full communion between the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and of Romania should be also regarded as a matter of urgency in view of the need to accelerate the process of preparation of the Great and Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church.
  3. To this purpose, the Romanian Patriarchate recognizes fully and unreservedly the canonical jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the Holy Land with its pastoral implications.
  4. Regarding the status of the church and the pilgrim’s hostel in Jericho, the Romanian Patriarchate should remain the owner of these buildings, while the spiritual, liturgical and ecclesiastical use of these buildings should depend on the canonical blessing of the Patriarch of Jerusalem:

a)    The priests serving in the church of these buildings should be appointed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem on the basis of recommendation of the Patriarch of Romania. It is of course understood that the Patriarch of Jerusalem may Himself or with his clergy liturgically use this church whenever he decides to do so;

b)    All priests celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the church should commemorate at the anaphora (ν πρώτοις μνήσθητι) only the Patriarch of Jerusalem, while at the Great Entrance the priests may commemorate also the name of the Patriarch of Romania;

c)     The Antimision will be received from the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

  1. The Romanian Patriarchate will avoid in the future to build churches or shrines on the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem without written agreement.
  2. Concerning the status of Archimandrite Ieronim Creţu, who was deposed from the rank of priesthood, it was agreed that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem will lift up this canonical measure, and the Romanian Patriarchate will call him back to Romania.
  3. Concerning the Representation of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, it was agreed that a special Statute should be worked out as soon as possible, by the two sides.

His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem has given his consent to the above Minutes (Praktikon).

 

Jerusalem, 21st February 2013

The Committee of   the Patriarchate of Jerusalem:

His Eminence Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Chief Secretary,

His Eminence Archbishop Theophylaktos of Jordan, Patriarchal Representative in Bethlehem,

Rev. Archimandrite Galaction, Superior in Ramalla.

The Delegation of the Romanian Patriarchate:

His Eminence Metropolitan Nifon, Archbishop of Târgovişte and Patriarchal Exarch,

Rev. Prof. Dr. Viorel Ioniţă,

Rev. Fr. Michael Tiţa, Patriarchal counsellor.




THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM RADIO STATION

The Radio Station of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem was founded according to decision Number ΝΔ’/20-04-2010 of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and is run by the Patriarchate’s Website Administration. 

You may view the live radio broadcast schedule here: www.radio.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/en

Radio stations that wish to retransmit live processions from the Horrendous Golgotha, the Holy Sepulcher and the All-holy Church of the Resurrection, are kindly asked to contact the following for securing a relevant permit and the necessary technical support:

The Office of the Patriarchate’s Radio Station

E-mail: radio@jerusalem-patriarchate.info

Tel. +972-25792659

 

To listen to the Radio Station of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, please choose one of the following options:

Winamp, iTunes

Windows Media Player

Real Player

QuickTime

Web Proxy

To tune in via mobile phone:

mobile

Technical support for this endeavor is kindly sponsored by ISBS Hellas

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem Website Administration




PROGRAMME OF THE OFFICIAL VISIT OF PATRIARCH OF MOSKOW KYRILL TO THE HOLY LAND.

Friday, October 27 / November 9

 14:00

Arrival at Ben Gurion airport (Terminal 1), Tel Aviv, of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. His Beatitude is met by a delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem consisting of:

His Eminence Isychios, Metropolitan of Capitolias; His Emincence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of the Jordan; Rev. Archimandrite Stephanos; and Rev. Archimandrite Galaktion. His Excellency Mr. Sergey Yakovlev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to State of Israel; His Excellency Mr. Alexander Rudakov, Representative of the Russian Federation to the Palestinian Authority; and Rev. Archimandrite Isidor, the Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem are also present.

 14:30-15:30

Transfer to Jerusalem by car to the King David Hotel.

 17:00

Official entrance to the Old City at Jaffa Gate met by a delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, representatives of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem, local Authorities and the people. Procession to the gate of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

17:15

Procession of H.B. Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and H.B. Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, to the Holy Sepulchre Church.

 17:30

Arrival at the Holy Sepulchre Church. Veneration of the Stone of Unction and the Holy Tomb, Gospel reading, Doxology in the Catholicon, exchange of greetings.

18:30

Return to the Patriarchate. Reception. Greetings. Decoration of H.B.Patriarch Kyrill.Transfer to the King David Hotel. Dinner.

 

Saturday, October 28 / November 10

 

Breakfast at the King David Hotel.

 10:20

Transfer to Gethsemane.

 10:40

Visit to the Tomb of the Mother of God. Prayer and Gospel reading.

Visit to the Garden of Gethsemane.

11:30

Transfer to Bethlehem.

 12:00

Visit to the Grotto and the Basilica of the Nativity of Christ of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, who will be officially met by the Patriarchal Representative, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan, the priests, and His Excellency Mr. Alexander Rudakov, Representative of the Russian Federation to the Palestinian Authority, local Authorities and the Flock. Greetings. Meeting with the local Press in the courtyard of the Basilica.

 13:00

Meeting of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, and His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, with His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, at the presidential residence in Bethlehem.

 13:30

Official luncheon in honor of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, given by His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority.

 15:00

Transfer to the King David Hotel.

 18:00

Vespers and Matins at the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. Presentation of awards. Dinner.

 23:25

Transfer by car to Jaffa Gate.

23:35

Procession to the Patriarchate.

 23:50

Procession from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to the Holy Sepulchre Church.


Sunday, October 29 / November 11

 

00:00

Arrival of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, and His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the Holy Sepulchre Church. Matins in the Catholicon.

00:30

Patriarchal concelebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Holy and Life- Giving Tomb. Exchange of greetings in front of the Holy Edicule. Office of the Holy Sepulchre Church.

 03:30

Departure of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, from the Holy Sepulchre Church to Jaffa Gate. Transfer to King David Hotel.

 12:00

Breakfast.

Meeting of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, with Mr. Jona Metzer and Mr. Shlomo Amar, Chief Rabbis of Israel, at the Chief Rabbinate.

 13:30

Presentation of His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill’s book Freedom and Responsibility in Hebrew and of the jubilee almanac Russian Palestine: Peoples and Destinies at the King David Hotel.

 14:00

Official luncheon in honor of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, given by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the King David Hotel.

 16:00

Meeting of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, and His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, with His Excellency Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel at the President’s residence.

17:15

Meeting His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, with His Honor Mr. Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem.

 18:10

Transfer by car to Lions’ Gate. Procession along the Way of the Cross.

 19:00

Veneration of the Calvary, the Stone of Unction and the Holy Tomb with hymns and Gospel reading.

19:30 – 21:30

Reception in honor of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, given by His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Transfer to the King David Hotel.

 

Monday, October 30 / November 12

 08:40

Transfer to the Gorny Convent.

09:00

Consecration of the Church of All Saints of Russia. Divine Liturgy. Presentation of awards to the benefactors.

12:15

Luncheon in the Refectory of the Gorny Convent.

14:00

Visit to Yad Vashem Memorial.

14:50

Visit to St Mary Magdalene Convent in Gethsemane.

15:30

Visit to the Convent of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives. Prayer for the departed at the tomb of Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin. Tea.

16:30

Transfer to King David Hotel. Dinner.

 

Tuesday, October 31 / November 13

 

Private breakfast.

08:00-10:00

Transfer to Mount Tabor.

10:00

Visit to the Monastery of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. Prayer and Gospel reading.

 10:45

Transfer to Nazareth.

11:30

Arrival at the Church of the Annunciation. His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, is met by His Eminence Kyriakos, Metropolitan of Nazareth; His Honor Mr. Ramzi Jaraise, Mayor of Nazareth; Mr. Popov, Consul of Russia in Haifa; and Mr. Amin Sifia, Consul of Russia in Ashdod. Prayer and Gospel reading.

 12:15

Meeting of His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, with His Eminence Kyriakos, Metropolitan of Nazareth, and with His Honor Mr. Ramzi Jaraise, Mayor of Nazareth at the Hall of the Nazareth Metropolia. Official luncheon in honor His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, given by His Eminence Kyriakos, Metropolitan of Nazareth at the Nazareth Metropolia.

 14:00

Transfer to Tiberias.

 14:30

Visit to the Monastery of the Twelve Apostles of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Tiberias.

 14:45

Visit to the Russian Pilgrim’s House in Tiberias.

15:10

Visit to the St Mary Magdalene dependency of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. Prayer and Gospel reading.

 17:00

Transfer to the Kingdom of Jordan via Allenby Bridge.

 20:00

(Jordanian summer time) Arrival at the Pilgrims’ Centre on the Jordan River. His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill is met by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos, His Highness Prince Ghazi ben Muhammad and His Excellency Mr. Alexander Kalugin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Dinner given by the Russian President’s General Affairs Department at the Refectory of the Pilgrims’ Centre.

 

Wednesday, November 1/14

 

Breakfast.

 10:20

Vesting in the house chapel. Procession to Jordan River. Great Blessing of the Waters.

11:05

Visit to the Greek Monastery of St John the Baptist on the bank of the Jordan River. His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, is met by His Eminence Benedict, Metropolitan of Philadelphia and Patriarchal Representative in Amman.

 11:55

Transfer by car to Amman.

 13:00

Meeting of His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill and His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos with His Majesty Abdallah Ibn Husein II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

 13:30

Official luncheon in honor of His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill and His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos given by His Majesty King Abdallah II.

 15:00-15:30

Transfer to Queen Alia International Airport.

15:45

Departure of His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill for Moscow.

 

End of the visit of His Beatitude Kirill Patriarch of Moscow.

Chief  Secretary’s Office

 




INITIATIVE OF THE HEADS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHES OF THE MIDDLE EAST CONCERNING THE SITUATION OF THE CHRISTIANS IN THE REGION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION.

We Christians have been living in the region of the Middle East since ancient times. Therefore, we consider that all efforts aiming at ousting us are unreasonable and unjust. Even when other religions conquered our land, we have always managed to adjust ourselves and find ways of symbiosis and peaceful coexistence with them.

However, the recent increasing influence of extreme fundamentalist elements in the region, directly jeopardizes the lives of Christians in their ancient cradles. We witness daily aggressions against Christian places of worship, killings of innocent people, violent acts and atrocities against Christian properties, as well as violations of the most elementary human rights of Christians. Christians are thus forced towards expatriation. Thousands have already left their ancient cradles and have become refugees in various parts of the world, seeking more security.

We call upon the European Union and all those willing to intervene, in order to put an end to this blatant injustice. More specifically, we call upon them to exercise their influence in order to protect all aspects of religious freedom and worship in the region. Moreover, we would appeal to them to preserve and save from desecration and pillage the places of worship and the Christian cultural monuments in this tumultuous land, e.g. in Syria and the occupied Cyprus.

These temples and monuments are part of the world cultural heritage, therefore belonging to Humanity as a whole.

As Christian leaders, we call upon all the religious and political leaders and every person of good will to contribute to the peaceful coexistence of all the Communities in the Middle East.

We reiterate the commitment of our Orthodox Churches to the Middle East Council of Churches and pursue through it the strengthening of relations among all Christians of the Middle East and the development of friendly, harmonious and peaceful relations among the believers of the Abrahamic religions.

As Heads of the Orthodox Churches we cannot remain indifferent towards the challenges facing our region, in view of the political and socio-economic changes taking place there nowadays. We therefore underline the need for a peaceful solution of all conflicts, through constructive dialogue.

Moreover, we stress that Syria is a country in which churches have always co-existed side by side with mosques, in a unique symbolism of symbiosis, fraternity and mutual respect, bringing people closer together.  As Heads of Churches of the Middle East, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Cyprus, we reiterate our commitment to support all the efforts and necessary initiatives, aiming at restoring peace and tranquillity in that country.

Brussels, 18th September, 2012

†Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II,

†Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius IV,

†Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III,

†Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus Chrysostomos II




H.B. THEOPHILOS III PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM VISITED AL-ZAITARI REFUGEE CAMP IN JORDAN

On Monday, August 6, 2012, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all of Palestine and Jordan, and President of the Middle East Council of Churches for the Orthodox Family, expressed his concern for and acted out of what he called a “moral duty” by making a pastoral visit to the Syrian families who have fled the deteriorating situation in Syria, And who have  sought sanctuary in the Al-Zaitari Camp located just a few kilometers from the city of Mafraq in northern Jordan.

His Beatitude’s  visit comes out of a genuine sense of love and concern for the people who are caught up in this humanitarian crisis. The local church is committed to the Christian mission found in Mathew 25:35,36 –  “for I was a stranger and you received me, sick and you visited me, hungry and you gave me food, naked and you clothed me.”

“It is a moral duty for the church to support and be present those who suffer , who at this time need everyone’s love and assurance”, His Beatitude stated.

The Church is in prayer for peace, and a desire that all might soon return to their homes and country, being especially mindful of the children, who need to be at home and in secure dwellings.

His Beatitude expressed his deep gratitude for Jordan and especially for His Majesty King Abdullah II and the Hashemite Kingdom , for welcoming the refugees and hosting them in the best possible way.  Jordan has, throughout its history, accepted within its borders many people in need of help , hosting them as guests until the day when they can once again return home safely.

His Beatitude was briefed by the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization and the UNHCR representatives as to the current situation and conditions within the camp.

The Orthodox Church has pledged to provide assistance .

“We call upon all people of goodwill to join us in this humanitarian effort”.

From the Office Of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos II The Middle East Council of Churches  President for the orthodox Family Amman –Jordan

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FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 10TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE MIDDLE EAST COUNCIL OF CHURCHES.

1-Under the theme “and the multitude of them that believed were of one heart” (Acts 4:32), the 10th General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches was held in the ancient city of Paphos, Cyprus, on Tuesday and Wednesday the 29th and 30th of November, 2011.  All the member churches that constitute the four families of the Council (Oriental Orthodox, Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic) attended the meeting that was hosted by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus represented by its Archbishop his Beatitude Chrysostomos II.

2-The General Assembly proceeded with its planned agenda that included words of welcome from the Archbishop of Cyprus, as well as the four presidents of the Council, the General Secretary, and a host of guests that came from the East and West representing their churches and other international ecumenical bodies.  It discussed the reports of the General Secretary, the Finance Secretary and the coordinator of the Task Force that had been entrusted with the future restructuring of the Council.  The Assembly also elected the presidents for the coming four years.  These are:

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Orthodox House of Cilicia – on behalf of the Oriental Orthodox family.

His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem – on behalf of the Orthodox family.

His Grace Bishop Munib Younan, president of the Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land – on behalf of the Evangelical family

His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Yusuf III Younan, Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch – on behalf of the Catholic family.

His Grace Bishop Boulos Matar was elected honorary president.

3-The General Assembly also elected a new Executive Committee and concluded its deliberations by electing Father Dr. Paul Rouhana, of the Maronite (Catholic) Church, as the new General Secretary for a coming period of four years.  He replaces Mr. Guirgis Ibrahim Saleh, who was elected as honorary General Secretary.

4-The General Assembly asserted its firm belief that Christian unity remains the basic purpose and mission of MECC. It carefully considered the present state of the Church in the Middle East from spiritual, social and national perspectives.

5-Those assembled gave thanks to God for the new atmosphere of love, reconciliation, cooperation and dialogue that now prevails amongst the churches, and in the hearts, minds and souls of church leaders.  All agreed that MECC remains the common meeting ground for all the Christians of the Middle East.  Thus efforts must be intensified to revive the Council and strengthen the ecumenical movement.

6-Christians are deeply rooted in the East.  They have effectively participated in and contributed to its renaissance and in defending the integrity of its territories and all the pertaining national rights of its inhabitants.

7-They stand ready and committed to participate in the building of a new future for the Middle East and accordingly they renounce the idea of emigration in spite of all the difficulties that Middle Eastern Christians are presently facing.  They call upon all the faithful to hold steadfast to their hope in the peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the Middle East, and thus they support the recent and ongoing movements of reform, change and development for the common good of humanity.

8-In view of what is now occurring in some countries of The Middle East, the General Assembly wishes to remind all concerned parties, but especially the International Community, of the need to preserve and protect fundamental human rights and principles, such as the freedom of thought, of religious belief and of political action.

9-The Assembly asserts its repudiation of resorting to violence as a means of conflict resolution, no matter who the perpetrator may be.  Dialogue, equal citizenship and the rule of law — in the context of a civil and just state — must prevail amongst all the peoples of the Middle East.

10-The General Assembly reiterates its support for all just causes and in particular the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, in accordance with international legality.

11-In this context, the Middle East Council of Churches stresses the great need to protect and preserve all holy sites and houses of worship.  It deplores the acts of bombing of these places, and especially condemns the killing and displacement of Christians.  Those assembled consider religious freedom and the freedom of worship as sacred human rights.  Thus they call upon those in authority, and all decision and policy makers, to exert every effort in order to enforce the necessary legislation and take every necessary measure to protect Christians in all the countries of the Middle East and around the world.

12-In this regard, the General Assembly also calls upon all the adherents of the three monotheistic religions to interact with each other in the spirit of love — in thought and in deed.  The principles of common serious dialogue between followers of all religions ought to be respected and put into practice.  It endorses and asserts the need to continue with all dialogue initiatives currently taking place between Christians and Muslims, whether on the level of every-day life or within the context of institutions and dialogue centers.

13-Muslims and Christians in the Middle East have journeyed together as sisters and brothers for many decades, and we shall continue to do so.  Together we stand before God Almighty in the service of the people of our region and of the world; but also in service of our societies who are currently experiencing fundamental political and constitutional changes.  We strongly urge that the principles of equal citizenship shall be incorporated into the emerging constitutions and effectively applied on the ground in all our countries.

14-As the Middle East Council of Churches brings its General Assembly to a close, it wishes again to thank his Beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus and to endorse what he said in his opening speech to the Assembly.  We join him in calling for the unity of the Island of Cyprus and for respect and protection of the basic human rights and freedoms of its inhabitants, but in particular the right of religious practice and worship, and the preservation of the ancient and historic churches and monasteries on the Island that have been destroyed or desecrated.

15-Finally, the Assembly extends its thanks to the outgoing General Secretary, the presidents, the members of the Executive Committee and the staff who have faithfully labored for the preservation of MECC in the past four years.

16-As our Churches prepare to celebrate the feast of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh, we assert our hope for our region and for the whole world.  We leave the Assembly inspired by the chant of the angelic host on Christmas night: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and hope to all people of good will.”

 Chief Secretary’s Office

 




BREACH OF PILGRIMAGE STATUS BY THE ARMENIANS IN THE CAVE OF THE NATIVITY IN BETHLEHEM

On Saturday, October 16th / 29th 2011, His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, escorted by the Elder Dragoman Holy Metropolitan of Eleftheroupolis Christodoulos and His Eminence Elder Chief Secretary Archbishop of Constantina Aristarchus went to Bethlehem.

There at our priory/hegoumeneio He met with His Eminence Patriarchal Vicar in Bethlehem Archbishop of Jordan Theophilaktos and with the Custodian of the Franciscan Holy Land F. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, F. Athanasius Makora and the abbot of the Franciscans in Bethlehem F. Stephen and all together descended to the Cave that accepted God.

Here they inspected wear, that is scrapes in the marble joints on the ground and removal of marble parts, caused by the Armenians arbitrarily on October 27th/ 28th 2011, on the floor, to the repairs, which had been made by the Orthodox and the Franciscan the previous day , 26th / 27th October 2011.

This act of the Orthodox and the Franciscan was conducted, as in past occasions, in accordance with their agreement, having as entitled the right to take this action in the Cave that accepted God according to the pilgrimage status.

This act by the Armenians, that is scraping with a tool and cleaning the plaster from the cracks of the broken marbles and removing these pieces was done by contravention of the pilgrimage status since according to this status they do not have any rights to repairing or cleaning in the Cave that has accepted God other than their right to use it to conduct their Liturgy.

After this inspection, the Orthodox and the Franciscan agreed to proceed to the necessary actions and protests for the prevention of the consequences of this arbitrary action of the Armenians aiming at the distortion of the pilgrimage status through the acquisition of non-vested pilgrimage rights.

Chief Secretary’s Office

(translated from the original document in Greek by Mrs. Irini Valasi)

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THE PATRIARCHATE CONDEMNS THE DESECRATION OF THE CEMETERIES IN IOPPE

Jerusalem, 9-10-2011

 

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the first Christian Church of the Holy Land, fostered through the centuries interfaith dialogue based on equality and mutual respect as well as supported the indiscriminate cohabitation and cooperation of the Jewish, the Christians and the Muslims.

Continuing Its conciliatory and peacekeeping mission, the Patriarchate condemns the actions of desecration, which have recently been done by an individual whose identity remains unknown to the detriment and damage of the Christian and Muslim Cemetery in Ioppe.

The Patriarchate hopes the investigations of the Israeli Police to discover the culprits will bring the expected results, for the sake of prevalence of Justice, Freedom of Religion and Peace at the holy Land.

 

Chief Secretary’s Office

(translated from the original document in Greek by Mrs Irini Valasi)