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STATEMENT REGARDING THE REOPENING OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE

Following the situation development in the Holy Land, we the Heads of the Three Communities, custodians of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and Resurrection, wish to inform that starting on Sunday 24th this most Holy Place will be accessible again to the faithful for visits and prayers.

For safety reasons and in order to avoid the risk of a new spread of the COVID-19 infection, at the beginning the number will be limited (to 50 persons) and the Basilica will be accessible only to those who have no fever or symptoms of infection and are wearing suitable face coverings.

It will also be necessary to keep a minimal distance of 2 meters between each person and to avoid any act of devotion that might include physical contact such as touching and kissing the stones, icons, vestments and the personnel in the Basilica; as well as abide always by the given instructions.

From this Holy Place, in this Easter time, we continue our prayers, asking for the end of this pandemic.

THEOPHILOS III – Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

FRANCESCO PATTON – Custos of the Holy Land

ABP. NOURHAN MANOUGIAN – Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem




IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC: PATRIARCH THEOPHILOS III EXEMPTS TENANTS OF THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM FROM RENT FOR THE YEAR 2020

 
Jerusalem 28-3-2020
 
Following the noble initiative of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, Hashemite Custodian of the Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in the Holy Land, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, today exempted all tenants of properties of the Orthodox Church within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem from rent for the year 2020. This action is taken in support of the diverse community of Jerusalem, and to enhance the steadfastness of its residents in light of the exceptional circumstances of the Coronavirus epidemic.
 
Patriarch Theophilos said that the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem wants to support the local community materially and morally to face the difficulties associated with the Coronavirus epidemic, adding that the doors of the Patriarchate are open to every person who needs help in facing the current circumstances, and called on everyone to adhere to the instructions of the authorities regarding social distancing, home isolation and taking the necessary measures to overcome the crisis. His Beatitude prayed that Almighty God would lift the epidemic and send down His mercy upon his creation.
 
Father Issa Musleh, spokesperson for the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said that His Beatitude Theophilos III is working to increase the effectiveness of the Patriarchate’s institutions in facing the epidemic of the Coronavirus. Father Musleh added that in addition to this most recent step, the Patriarchate has led a campaign to support the residents of the Governorate of Bethlehem through the distribution of 1,200 food parcels, and has donated fifty thousand Jordanian Dinars to the Jordanian Ministry of Health. These are a matter of social responsibility, drawing on the Church’s commitment to serve the community, and to provide everything possible in support of people in these difficult circumstances.
 
 
 
 



STATEMENT FOR THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE

On Thursday, March 13/26, 2020, the Three Major Communities, namely the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Custody of the Holy Land of the Franciscans, and the Patriarchate of the Armenians in Jerusalem, who are responsible for the Status Quo, published the announcement stated below, stating that the Services at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will continue to be held by the ministering Fathers of each Community, according to the Typikon of the Status Quo. However there will be a significant decrease in the numbers of the faithful attending the services, in order to adhere to the safety precautions against COVID-19 virus.

“Following the evolvement of the situation in the Holy Land, we the Heads of the Three Communities to whom the Providence granted the grace and honour of proclaiming the lodes of the Lord in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and Resurrection, wish to inform that the celebrations of the Communities, the Greek Orthodox, the Latin and the Armenian will continue regularly, even though for safety reasons and in order to avoid the risk of the diffusion of the COVID-19 infection, the number of participants in the celebrations will be limited to few persons and the Basilica will be accessible during the liturgies only.

We wish to assure that inside the Basilica, the prayers of the Three Communities will continue, rather intensify, asking the Heavenly Father the end of the pandemic, the recovery of the sick, the protection of the medical personnel, the wisdom for the Pastors and the Governors and the eternal salvation to those who lost their lives. We raise this prayer from the very place where, through the sacrifice of His own life on the Calvary and through His Resurrection from the Sepulchre on the third day, the only begotten and beloved Son Jesus Christ, defeated evil, sin and death.”

 

THEOPHILOS III              FRANCESCO PATTON              ARCH. NOURHAN MANOUGIAN                                                                                

 

Greek Orthodox               Custos of the Holy Land                        Armenian Patriarch

 

Patriarch                                                                                                                  of Jerusalem

 

of Jerusalem  




STATEMENT OF THE THREE MAJOR COMMUNITIES FOR THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE REGARDING COVID-19

On Friday, March, 7/20, 2020, the Three Major Communities with the pilgrimage responsibility for the All-holy Shrines, namely the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Custody of the Holy Land of the Franciscans, and the Patriarchate of the Armenians in Jerusalem, released a Statement, specifying to the faithful Christians that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with the Horrendous Golgotha and the All-Holy Tomb will remain open for the services, according to the existing Status Quo, and that they may come for their prayer, conforming to the instructions of the Local Authorities in order to protect their health. The Statement follows below;

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our world is currently experiencing a time of crisis and emergency, whereas many countries and nations are combating the spread of COVID-19.  In many places around the globe, the infection is spreading rapidly and the victims are consistently increasing. The World Health Organization has declared the situation as a global pandemic.

In front of this dangerous situation, governments worldwide mobilized to resist and restrain the spread of this virus. In many places severe measures were adopted which resulted in restrictions of movement of persons maintaining operative only crucial facilities.

This dangerous situation has not passed over the Holy Land and the Holy City of Jerusalem in which all Sons of Abraham Jews, Christians and Muslims are raising their prayers to God Almighty. We are called to live this time in faith and confidence in the Lord’s mercy and His care for all His creatures.

At the same time, we are called to adhere to the instructions of the competent civil authorities enacted to ensure the safety and well-being of the entire population.

Therefore, we the Heads of the Churches in charge of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem urge everyone to abide fully by the provisions for the public health, as they are published from time to time.

The communities living within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will continue the ordinary life of the Church in conformity with the instructions for the public health. We will be united spiritually in our aim to preserve the centuries’ long tradition of ongoing prayers in the Church even in these sad times when pilgrims cannot reach Jerusalem and local faithful are compelled to remain at their homes.

Accordingly, while maintaining the Church open we urge the worshipers to:

Refrain from any gatherings of more than 10 people in the same place and at the same time in the Basilica.

Keep a minimal distance of 2 meters between each person.

Avoid any act of devotion that might include physical contact such as touching and kissing the stones, touching icons, vestments and the personnel in the Basilica.

To abide always by the instructions of the authorities.

The Holy Sepulchre is the ultimate place of hope. Hope that faith will defeat doubt, light will defeat darkness and life will triumph over death. From this Holy Place and in this time of spiritual preparation for Easter and of global crisis we join our prayers to those of faithful of all religions, asking for the end of this pandemic. We pray for all those afflicted by the virus around the world and express our sympathy and gratitude to those who assist and take care of the victims.

 

                

 

 THEOPHILOS III              FRANCESCO PATTON              ARCH. NOURHAN MANOUGIAN                                                                                

 

Greek Orthodox               Custos of the Holy Land                        Armenian Patriarch

 

Patriarch                                                                                                      of Jerusalem

 

of Jerusalem  




STATEMENT OF THE CHURCHES OF JERUSALEM FOR COVID-19 VIRUS

A few days ago, the three Major Communities, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Patriarchate of the Armenians in Jerusalem published an announcement regarding the Nativity of the Basilica in Bethlehem for the reduction of COVID-19 virus transmission, and yesterday, March 1/14, 2020, all the Churches of Jerusalem under the lead of H.H.B. our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos published the following statement, urging their congregations all over their jurisdictions to follow the instructions of their Civil Authorities and increase their works of prayer, alms-giving, and love, which are pleasing to God.

From Secretariat-General

A STATEMENT OF THE PATRIARCHS AND HEADS OF CHURCHES IN JERUSALEM

CONCERNING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

March 14, 2020

Our planet earth, at this difficult and challenging time, suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected so many people and reaped thousands of lives. To face this health and life-threatening pandemic, it is essential for our people and communities to adhere by the provisions and instructions of the civil authorities within the countries we live.

At the same time, we, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, call upon Almighty God to look on our situation and be gracious to our suffering world. We are all called to live this time continuing to trust in our heavenly Father who takes care of all His creatures. It is therefore good that we intensify personal prayer, fasting and alms-giving and to walk in the light of God’s love.

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

+ Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

+ Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate

+ Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate

+ Custody of the Holy Land

+ Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

+ Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate

+ Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate

+ Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate

+ Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate

+ Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

+ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

+ Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

+ Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

 




ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CHURCHES OF JERUSALEM REGARDING VIRUS COVID_19

On Monday, February 25/March 9, 2020, the Three Major Communities related to religious matters, the Rum-Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Custody of the Holy Land of the Franciscans and the Patriarchate of the Armenians in Jerusalem, published an Announcement, urging people to conform to the precautions and instructions of the Governmental Authorities’ decisions, regarding the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The announcement follows below;

“Dear Brothers,

also in the Holy Land, we are experiencing a time of trial and emergency because of the virus COVID-19 that is now spreading all over the world. We are called to live this time continuing to trust in our Heavenly Father who takes care of all His creatures.

However, the ongoing emergency also makes us attentive to accomplish the provisions that the competent civil authorities enact to protect public health and the common good.

Therefore, in conformity with the recent decree of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, issued on Μάρτιος 5th 2020, with the present we the Heads of Churches in charge of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem urge everyone to adhere by the provisions and instruction of the civil authorities as they are detailed in the decree.

 

 THEOPHILOS III              FRANCESCO PATTON              ARCH. NOURHAN MANOUGIAN                                                                                

 

Greek Orthodox               Custos of the Holy Land                        Armenian Patriarch

 

Patriarch                                                                                                                  of Jerusalem

 

of Jerusalem  

 

 




THE HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT GRANTS SCHOLARSHIPS TO CHRISTIANS

The Government of Hungary has been working for years in the protection of the Christians internationally and in the Holy Land, and has recently announced to the Patriarchate its herein attached decision to grant scholarships to Palestinian Christians:

 “Το Η.Ε. Archbishop of Constantina,

Your Eminence!

Hungary has continuously provided scholarships to talented Palestinian students since the 1970’s among them many Christians, who are playing important roles in the Palestinian society. The Government of Hungary established the Stipendium Hungaricum programme 5 years ago, which created a new institutional framework for the international students’ studies in Hungary. In this framework Hungary signed an agreement with the Ministry of Higher Education of Palestine on providing 60 full scholarships for talented Palestinian students for Bachelor, Master and PhD level studies. The Call for Application for the next year has been announced on the website of the Ministry of Higher Education with the deadline of 15th January, 2019. The Call for Application is available here: http://www.mohe.pna.ps/scholarships/Post/5224

Your Eminence,

I would like to turn your attention to this opportunity and request Your kind consideration of encouraging young Christian students to apply for these scholarships. Very soon I will send the Call for Application for the Christian Scholarship Programme, which will also be available.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please, do not hesitate to contact me or my office in Ramallah.

Kind regards,

Rada Csaba”

Details regarding the scholarships will be provided in due course.

Greek-Orthodox Arab-speaking young people interested in this may submit their applications through the Patriarchate.

From Secretariat-General

 




SIGNING AGREEMENT ON THE INTEGRATION OF WORKINGS OF THE SACRED EDICULE AND THE ROTUNDA AROUND THE HOLY SEPULCHRE

On Monday afternoon, May 14/27, 2019, at the Franciscan Monastery, there was a meeting of H.H.B. the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, Geronda Secretary-General Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, and Dragouman Archimandrite Mattheos, with the Franciscans, the Custos Fr. Francesco Patton, Fr. Dobromiro, Fr.David, and with the Armenian Patriarch in Jerusalem Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, the Hegoumen of the Armenians at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Fr. Samuel and Fr. Gurion, for the signing of the agreement for the completion of the maintenance and restoration project of the Sacred Edicule and the Rotunda, after the maintenance and restoration works of the Sacred Edicule that were completed two years ago under the technical supervision of the Technical University of Athens.

His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos made the following interview regarding the signing of this agreement:  

 “Your Paternity,

Your Beatitude,

Dear Brothers,

It is a great blessing, for us to be here in this very special place, and it is a great blessing, because what we are about to sign is the confirmation of what is being mentioned in your script, it is the confirmation of the initiative that was taken some years ago, for the restoration of the Holy Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre.

It is true that our common initiatives and joint venture and common action that we altogether work for the restoration of the Holy Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre, that opened a new phase I would say, in our history, in our cooperation, in our co-existence, and above all, in our mission and as witness to the Holy City of Jerusalem and of course to the Holy Places, with the Crown of them, the Holy Sepulchre, which as you said, indeed has become the main destination not only for our own pilgrims the Christian pilgrims, but also the destination of all other visitors and non-Christian pilgrims as well.

Today is really a special day, not only for us and for our Communities, that we are in charge of the custody of the Holy Places, but it is important for the Holy City of Jerusalem because everybody is now realizing and acknowledges that if Jerusalem maintains her Christian character as well, it depends on us as well. Therefore our mission is very important, not only in religious terms but also in diplomatic terms and inevitably in political terms.

I would like very much from the bottom of my heart to express on behalf of our Brotherhood, and myself personally, our thanks and appreciation, and we hope and pray that this initiative, to not just restore the foundations and the pavement of the Holy Sepulchre, but that this would be the completion of the restoration of the Holy Sepulchre, that has started so many years ago. And I think that this will bring the Holy Sepulchre to a new era, to a new phase, because, so far, due the restoration works which are going on, there is no doubt that the Holy Sepulchre suffers from its holiness and sanctity and reverence. But by completing the restoration works, the Holy Sepulchre will recover its splendour.

And I must rest you assured that our technical team is ready to join forces with your own technical team, as well as with the technical team of our Brothers the Armenians. And we are ready also in any possible way, to make our contribution, so that the works will go smoothly, as it happened with the restoration of the Holy Sepulchre.

Thank you very much indeed! Christos Anesti! Christ is risen!”

From Secretariat-General

 




ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE MEETING OF THE HEADS OF ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

In their meeting on Thursday, April 5/18, 2019, at the Holy Archdiocese of Cyprus, their Beatitudes the Heads of Primeval Patriarchates, Theodoros II of Alexandria, Ioannis III of Antioch, Theophilos III of Jerusalem and Chrysostom II of Cyprus announced the following; 

“Their Beatitudes the Heads of the Orthodox Churches in the Middle East, Theodoros II of Alexandria, Ioannis III of Antioch, Theophilos III of Jerusalem and Chrysostom II of Cyprus, met on April 18, 2019 at the Holy Archdiocese of Cyrus in Nicosia.

On their Meeting they prayed for the world peace, the stability of the Holy Churches in various parts of the world and especially of the tested Middle East. They also prayed for the relief of the peoples of this region, so that the faithful belonging to these Churches may continue their Orthodox witness for our Lord, the Resurrected from the dead, and especially here, in the blessed land where Christ and his all-famous disciples walked, as well as for the whole world, which longs and yearns for the hopeful redeeming message of the Gospel.

Their Beatitudes the Heads of Churches, underlined the need to  make maximum efforts to ensure stability in the Middle East and  discussed the most important ecclesiastical issues concerning the establishment of Christian presence in this region and the deepening of co-operation among local churches in the pursuit of the same goal. They also appealed to all political members to work, in view of the reflection on this region, for the elimination of the injustice brought to its peoples, in the wake of the wars, the occupation and the financial difficulties.During the private meeting, held by the two Heads of Churches Antioch and Jerusalem, in honesty, brotherhood and love, they exchanged various views on the problem, which employs two local Churches and expressed their intention and good disposition, to exceed direct impact on these difficulties, in order to reach the desirable Eucharistic Society.In addition, their Beatitudes the Heads of the Orthodox Churches in Middle East discussed the various ecclesiastical problems that occasionally arise within the Orthodox Church, and especially considered ways to solve them. They also discussed the problems that arose after the granting of the autocephalus to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Following the briefing of His Beatitude Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostom, on the mediation initiative, which he personally undertook, the three Heads of Churches are aligned with this, so that His Beatitude will continue it for the benefit of the Orthodox Church in Christ.

In the spirit of this meeting, Their Beatitudes and Holy Heads of Churches, called on all sides to work on one hand to achieve the Eucharistic unity, which constitutes the body of the Church in Christ Jesus and on the other hand, to protect the faithful and the Holy Churches and Monasteries, all of which have been subjected to all kinds of acts of violence, from whichever source they arise, or whichever are the reasons and the motives that cause them.Their Beatitudes the Heads of Churches expressed their sadness on the total indifference by the States and the powerful of this world, regarding the fate of the two Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul Ysziji and Ioannis Ibrahim, noting that the sixth anniversary of their kidnapping coincides this year with the beginning of the Holy Week.Lastly, the Heads of Churches first pointed out their intention and determination to continue this communication and cooperation for the good of the Church, then emphasized that in Orthodoxy, although the views may differ, the Orthodox Church is united and brilliant with Its Head, our God-man Lord, and continues its salvific course in the world.By completing their Meeting they lifted up prayers from their hearts to our Lord and our God, Jesus Christ, who suffered for us, so that through His divine and life-giving Grace, He may quickly heal the varied wounds of our people, and by the unwaning light of His glorious Resurrection, He may enlighten, give peace and comfort the hearts of the faithful, and lead everyone to the spiritual refreshment and keep us in the unity of faith and love, wishing to all a blessed Resurrection”.  

 

 

 




ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM

The answer of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to the content of Mr. Demetrios Alikakos’ book on the issue of the Holy Light is the one that has already been given to him from the Secretariat-General, that “the official statement of the Patriarchate for the Service of the Holy Light is the one that is included in the program of the Service of the Holy Light on Holy and Great Saturday each year, at the Website of the Patriarchate, at the projects of the Hagiotaphite Fathers and of the memorable Hagiotaphite Kallistos Miliaras, at the journal “Nea Sion” and to all those matters referring to it from the Holy Bible and the Fathers of the Church”.

From Secretariat-General