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VISIT OF THE ARMENIANS TO THE ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE, H.E. METROPOLITAN NOURHAN SPEECH.

On Monday the 2nd of May 2011, during the visit of the Armenians  to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, on the occasion of the feast of Easter, His Eminence Metropolitan Nourhan has addressed His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem with the following words:

“Your Beatitude and dear Brothers,

When on that first Sunday of Easter, the Oil Bearing Women went to the tomb of the Lord, they were worried about who would roll away the rock that served as the door of the tomb. But when they got there, they found it had already been rolled away.

For the past few years the rock of misunderstanding, distrust and intolerance acted as a rock that divided two religious institutions that worshipped the same Lord, and separated brothers from seeing and communicating with each other. We created for ourselves an unhealthy atmosphere of distrust. I am very glad that after a few years of sad incidents we have made the right decision to emerge from the dark tunnel of mutual suspicion and self-humiliation. I think we are perfectly capable of minimizing and marginalizing details and only by doing so we will be able to uphold the spirit and the true meaning of our feasts.

Last week, when Armenians marked the 96th Anniversary of their Genocide, our thoughts naturally went also to our Greek brothers and sisters who were martyred in Pontus and Smyrna. Christianity until today feels the immense loss of the Byzantine Empire and consequently thousands of our sanctuaries and holy places that are in ruins in Turkey today. Our pain is common, and only Greeks and Armenians realize what it means to lose a huge part of their spiritual as well as historical heritage. Our two nations, who have experienced martyrdom and live daily with the pain of loss, have the responsibility to collaborate closely to be a witness to other churches. We can do this best in Jerusalem and this should be our main task and guiding spirit. We are One Body and One entity, when one is weakened the rest will start caving in.

Your Beatitude, on behalf of our Patriarch, Abp. Torkom Manoogian and members of the St. James Brotherhood, please accept our sincerest wishes for a Happy Easter to you and to the members of your brotherhood. We wish you well, a long and healthy life.

Christos Anesty!”

Chief Secretary’s Office




THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCHES OF THE HOLY LAND VISIT THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL FOR THE NEW YEAR 2011.

December 29, 2010

On Wednesday, December 16th / 29th 2010, the Leaders of the Christian Churches of the Holy Land visited the Presidential Mansion of the State of Israel on the occasion of the New Year, as has been custom during the last few decades. This visit initially included a reception and, later, a ceremony that comprised the performance of fine musical compositions by the musician Mr. Yair Dalal from Bagdad. Following that a ceremony was held during which the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, greeted and welcomed the Leaders of the Christian Churches and their escorts, Archpriests, Priests and laymen and wished  them and  their Communities a peaceful and blessed New secular year 2011.

Specifically he said: «I am happy about your response to the invitation for this event.  For us, the state of Israel, each person or religious institution is free to believe in all things of his, her or its own choice.  We have a common Fatherin Godand common heavens in the skies, therefore it is the duty of the religions, irrespective of their differences, to bring peace to the world just as it is the duty of the politicians.

The peace process is difficult; however, peace is a dire necessity.  I think that we have no other choice because we live in an era of high technology particularly regarding weapons.  Please allow me to caution that time is running out.  Palestinians are preparing to establish their own state.  The wiser means towards peace is to desire the progress of your adversary.  The better your adversary, the better it is to make peace with him.  Additionally, the necessity of peace is more imperative  for the reason that we have moved from the war on the battlefields, as was most often the case in the past, and have entered the era of the terrorist phenomenon  which, in order to confront it, requires the cooperation of many civil and religious entities..  We, the state of Israel,  are preparing ourselves for the ‘two states’ solution, in which you, the religious leaders, will most likely assume a very important role.  Please pray for peace to our one Father and God.  I wish for you and  your Communities that the new year of 2011 will be a year of peace, prayer, understanding, hope, cooperation, progress and success».

After that, His Beatitude The Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III was invited to speak on behalf of the leaders of all the Churches of the Holy Land that were present. His speech, in English, is as follows (please access URL https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info/2010/12/29/1093/ )

Whereupon the event, on the occasion of the new secular year 2011 held at the Presidential Mansion, ended.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL MANAGER OF THE WEBSITE OF THE PATRIARCHATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ENTHRONEMENT OF HIS BEATITUDE.

Jerusalem, Monday, November 22, 2010.

Your Beatitude,

Five years have passed since the assumption of Your duties on the Throne of the Mother of Churches.  During the time of Your Patriarchy our Directorate of the Patriarchate’s Website was created which now includes more than 20 associates who, though they are dispersed in 6 different cities, collaborate harmoniously having as their goal the respectable presentation of the work done by our Patriarchate on the World Wide Web via the Internet.

The central website of our Patriarchate www.jerusalem-patriarchate.info, according to the posted welcoming message, aims at «the presentation of those Holy Places where the immaculate feet of the Lord paced and of the people who are set as guardians of them».  The website was created with the decision of the 6th Holy Synod on October 10, 2006 becoming operational on June 1st 2007 initially in Greek and later in English and Arabic, and is continuously being enriched since then with new material.  It contains, amongst others, descriptions and historical notes regarding the Most Holy Venerable Sites as well as their full contact information, the administrative organization of the Patriarchate and a multitude of pictures.

Subsequently the website of the Non Governmental Organization «Romiosini» www.romiosini.org.gr was constructed.  This website, which acts synergistically with the central website of the Patriarchate, aims at the presentation of the Holy Venerable Sites worldwide.

Finally, on November 21 of last year, the News Portal of the Patriarchate en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info was activated through which the current state of events and the communiqués and press releases of the Patriarchate are made public, not only in Greek but also in Arabic and English.

It is true that the aforementioned three World Wide Web  ventures owe their existence to Your benediction and personal care, and rightly for all of the above we hereby express and offer  You the acknowledgment, appreciation and credit for this.

It is also true that with Your personal benediction and support we have further enhanced the presence of our Patriarchate on the Internet with three further Internet ventures, the «Romiosini Radio», the «Romiosini TV» and the web [electronic] presentation of the journal of the Patriarchate «New Zion».  Through these new Internet ventures which, with God’s help, will come into operation in the coming year, the liturgical life of our Patriarchate and the rest of its activities will be more readily visible both to its flock as well as to its friends around the world.

Due to all of the above, on behalf of the more than 20 associates that engage themselves for the dignified and respectable presence of our Patriarchate around the world via the Internet, I wish You good health and a long life for the glory of our Trinitarian God.

Dr. Christos Th. Nicolaou

General Manager of the official Website of the Patriachate of Jerusalem.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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THE PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE HIS EXCELLENCY MR. GEORGE PAPANDREOU VISITS THE PATRIARCHATE

Within the framework of his two day visit to the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Prime Minister of Greece, His Excellency Mr. George Papandreou, visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on Wednesday, the 8th / 21st of July 2010, around 7:00 pm.

The Prime Minister was received at David’s Gate, by the Elder Chief Secretary of the Patriarchate His Eminence Aristarchos Archbishop of Constantina and by the coordinator of Ceremonies Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Porfyrios.

Thence, approaching the Patriarchate, he was shown around the grounds of the Christian neighborhood of the Patriarchate surroundings and of the Greek Community.  At the junction of the streets of the School of Saint Demetrios and of the Patriarchate, and below his house, the physician Mr. John Tlyle, one of the elders of the Greek Community, received him and presented him with his book entitled “I am Jerusalem”.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Mr. Demitrios Droutsas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. George Petalotis, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesperson, Mr. Yiannis Zeppos Ambassador and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with members of his political entourage and by the Ambassador of Greece to Israel His Excellency Mr. Kyriakos Loukakis, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem His Excellency Mr. Sotirios Athanasiou and a number of Greek and international journalists.  The Prime Minister was received and welcomed with honour and acclaim by the Archbishops members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, Priests and monks of the Patriarchate and members of the Greek Community at the entrance of the Central Monastery, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Prime Minister was then greeted by His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III at the entrance of the Throne Hall.

Following the Greeting, His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos addressed His Excellency the Prime Minister of Greece as follows:

“Your Excellency Prime Minister,

The eminent Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre today receives and welcomes Your Excellency and distinguished escorts at the august Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with abundant joy. Your peaceful and mediating visit to this region of the Holy Land, which exhibits a political and religious turmoil and where the three Monotheistic religions namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam coexist is of important significance.

It entails particular significance, both for our Patriarchate, which embodies the holy and secular history of Jerusalem diachronically, a history which is connected with the multicultural amplitude of Romiosini and thus, with the history of the Christians in Palestine,  Jordan, and of course Israel, and moreover for our venerable genus and nation which said nation constitutes the moral and material patron and, even more so, the natural guarantor of the inalienable and ab antiquo vested privileges and sovereign rights on the Holy  Shrines with a worldwide character.

The religious and spiritual mission of the Rum Orthodox (Greek Orthodox) Patriarchate, based on the holy scriptures and evangelical commandments: “love thy neighbour as yourself”, (Mathew 19, 19), as well as “love thy enemies . . . you are rightly doing so to your enemies”, (Mathew 5, 44), this  constitutes a vehicle of respect towards the each person and on the other hand provides us with a place of peaceful coexistence and  conciliation among the followers of other religions and dogmas.

We say this now more than  ever before, that the Patriarchate today emerges as a natural and moral institutional factor, one which can contribute towards the solution of the theocratic or the religious Gordian knot that pertains to the diplomatic and political status quo of the future of Jerusalem (it is understood of the Old City of Jerusalem).

This is attested by the fact of the local and international recognition of the standing of the Patriarchate via its participation, not only in interreligious and interchristian dialogues but also, in international political – social conferences.

Your Excellency, Prime Minister,

Being grateful for your genuine interest in the Holy Places and in the Palestinian people as affirmed by the respected Greek Government and You personally, we ask you to accept the wishes of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and Our Patriarchal blessings towards the success of Your peace mission to the region.

Furthermore, please accept this decoration of the Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulchre, as an expression of our deep appreciation towards your person and support to the governance and the  financial-political task that you are undertaking with such patience and determination.

Thank you”

Following the address, His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, decorated His Excellency Mr. George Papandreou the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic with the Order of the Grand Cross of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre along with the golden necklace as a sign of recognition and accolade for his services to the Hellenic Republic, the nation and to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Visibly moved, His Excellency the Prime Minister of Greece Mr. George Papandreou responded with the following:

“Your Beatitude, it is for me and for the whole of Christianity an exceptional honour to have bestowed upon me this highest medal, that of the Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulchre, and I will carry this cross with the utmost honour and respect, as a symbol of the unbreakable bond between Greece, Fatherland of the Greek People and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Holy Places.  I thank you especially for this honour, which will remain unforgettable for me”.

In addition, His Beatitude offered the Prime Minister an icon of the Nativity, done on the occasion of the celebration of the 2000 years of Christianity.  The Prime Minister reciprocated by presenting His Beatitude a round silver plate with the depicting the 12 Apostles.

Subsequently His Excellency the Prime Minister signed the visitors book and venerated at the Chapel of Sacred Pentecost adjacent to the Throne Hall.

Following this, His Beatitude and His Excellency, accompanied by members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, descended to the Church of Resurrection where they venerated the Stone of Anointing, the Life Giving Tomb of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-the Holy Sepulchre, and then proceeded to the Catholicon of the Church, venerated the Holy Calvary and the Holy Cross which is located at the Office of the Church of Resurrection.

From the Church of Resurrection the Prime Minister departed in order to carry out his peace mission to the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Chief Secretary’s Office.

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THE ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY THE MOST REVEREND DR. ROWAN WILLIAMS VISITS THE HOLY LAND

The Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Church the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, a scholar and writer, well disposed towards Orthodoxy, has visited the Holy Land again. Previously he had visited mainly with the aim of aiding the residents of Bethlehem and had invited His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III to participate in the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church (19 July -3 August 2008). On Sunday 8th /21st of February a reception in his honour was held at the Anglican Church of Saint George the Great Martyr in East Jerusalem by the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem His Eminence Right Reverend Suheil Dawani. Invited to this reception, amongst others were the representatives of the Christian Churches in the Holy Land, representatives of the Department on Christian Communities of the Ministry of Religion, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and representatives of the Israeli Police in Jerusalem.

At the reception the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams was welcomed on behalf of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem by the Anglican Bishop His Eminence Suheil S. Dawani who thanked him for his visit to the Holy Land, the land where, he said, Lord Jesus Christ deigned to visit in body and was Incarnated for us, the land where a small flock resides, a Christian Community which is now decreasing due to the political tension. His Eminence Suheil Dawani expressed his wish that the mutual respect between the followers of the three Abrahamic religions will constitute the basis and the foundation for peace in Jerusalem whilst retaining its beauty, which is also essentially its diversity.

In the name of the Christian Churches in the Holy Land His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III addressed the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams. His Beatitude was escorted by His Eminence Isihios Archbishop of Capitolias, His Eminence Aristarhos Archbishop of Constantina, His Eminence Dorotheos Archbishop of Avila, Hierodeacon Fr. Athanasios and the Rum-Orthodox Dr. Halil Andraous.

The address of His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III is as follows:

“Your Grace, the Most Reverend Dr Rowan Williams

Your Eminences

Dear Brothers and Sisters

Distinguished guests

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven”. (Mathew 5:13-16).

On behalf of church leaders in the holy land, We welcome His Grace, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. rowan Williams to the holy city of Jerusalem.

We are physically only a few hundred meters away from the church of the Holy Sepulcher and a relatively short travel away from Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity.

Despite this close proximity between the two Holy cities, the faithful cannot visit one or the other freely. This situation can only be described as tragic. It is hugely unacceptable when political failures are expressed in restricting freedom of worship especially at a time when we, religious leaders, push for inter-religious dialogue and the principles of convergence and coexistence.

But not all dissimilar ideologies deal with their differences using the same methods practiced by politicians. The convergence between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion carries in its spirit a role model for bringing together diverse ideologies throughout the world.

The dialogue between Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion began in 1973, when the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions held its first meeting in Oxford. Through its first phase of 1976, second phase in 1984 and the conclusion of its third phase concluded in the Cyprus Agreed Statement, considerable agreement was reached over a range of issues.

We and Our Jerusalem Patriarchate of Jerusalem share these important intentions and drive for these honorable fraternal relations.

Our convergence should be developed to include more faiths and take hands –on forms of manifestation through cooperation to achieve justice and peace so as to ultimately bridge the distance between the church of Nativity and the church of Holy Sepulcher.

The current political misfortune lived in the Middle East, especially in our beloved Holy Land, carries within its reality tragic human experiences. We church leaders, guardians of faiths and carriers of holy messages intend and persevere to effect a continuation to merge through dialogue that produces practical unified vision on how responsibility can be taken towards achieving justice and peace and forming a conduit for diffusing tension and support for positive political action.

We speak with utmost sincerity about our existence as clergy and about efforts towards the realization of justice, peace and stability. At the same time, we have to be very cautious in taking the religious dimension of the political conflict and not to mistaken it for a political tool but rather as an integral part of the conflict’s resolution.

Such responsibility may touch upon causing a change in the moral climate that governs this part of the world. Such change, given the nature of the relation between human and religion in the Holy Land, can only be achieved through the solid will of religious leaders and when encouragement is given to our respective congregations to rediscover the true meaning of justice and peace in the ultimate spiritual context.

We believe that we are in the company of one of the world leaders in promoting dialogue and coexistence. The work of Your Grace in this aspect has been inspirational, to say the least, to many of us who share the same values and vision, We commend the statement given Al-Azhar University in Cairo in the Third anniversary of the 11th of September terrorist attacks, when Your Grace pointed that the followers of the will of God should not be led into ways of violence. This drives Us to say: no doubt in my mind that The Most Reverend Rowan Williams is one of the utmost “Orthodox” believers in justice and peace for all human kind.

We would also like to extend our thanks and gratitude to our host and friend Bishop Suheil Duawani who has showed great responsibility in supporting and cooperating with many initiatives and events that serve the purpose of promoting Justice and Peace in the Holy Land.

Thank you”.

In response, the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams said the following:

‘For someone to live in Jerusalem or to visit it is a grace, a blessing, a gift from God, a challenge and an opportunity to self-reflect. The work of God for mankind in the Holy Land urges and implores us to empathize with Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is a city in which all nations are called upon to live ‘Let’s rise to the mount of the Lord’. This happened on the day of Pentecost and it happens also today. Jerusalem is destined to have its gates open to everyone, but for some they are closed. For some, entrance is excluded.’

‘The way of life for the inhabitants throughout the centuries in a Jerusalem which had its doors open to everyone, sets the example for peace in the present. Let’s remember the words of the ancient ascetic hermits “our life and our death entirely depends upon the life and death of our neighbour. If our neighbour lives, we live also with him; if he dies we also die with him”.

The following Monday 9th/23rd February 2010, the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, escorted by His Eminence Michael Jackson Anglican Bishop of Ireland, His Eminence Suheil Dawani Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem and other clergy, visited His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III at the Patriarchate.

During this visit His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III addressed the Archbishop of Canterbury as follows:

“Your Grace, Archbishop Rowan

Bishop Suheil,

Bishop Michael,

Your Eminences,

Dear Fathers

With great joy we welcome you, Your Grace Archbishop Rowan, and those with you, to our Patriarchate once again.

As we welcome you, we remember with deep gratitude our time with you at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury and the Walk of Witness against Global Poverty in London in 2008. We honor you in your archpastoral ministry of peace and justice both at home and around the world, and we recognize the care and concern that you have always shown to the Holy Land. We commend your thoughtfulness, and the wisdom and discretion that always mark your words and deeds.

We are also appreciative of the way in which, by your writings and your primatial ministry, you have helped to deepen the knowledge of Orthodoxy among Western Christians and thereby helped to a lay a further foundation for the unity of all Christians.

Your efforts to articulate the message of the Gospel in an increasingly secularized society are a reflection in a different place of the ministry of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem here to maintain the sacredness of Jerusalem and the integrity of the Holy Places in our region.

Jerusalem forms a kind of “universal parish”. Here millions of pilgrims come every year – Jews, Christians, Muslims and even those of no particular religious affiliation – and it is the special ministry of the Patriarchate to offer spiritual consolation and encouragement to all who come in search of the presence of God.

We know that you understand that a strong and vibrant Patriarchate ensures a strong and vibrant Christian presence in the Holy Land. We value your efforts on our behalf and we continue to ask for your prayers as we seek to be a living sign in the Holy Land of the message of mutual respect, reconciliation and peace that is our responsibility in the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And in asking for your prayers we assure you of our own prayers for you and for the unity and well-being of the Anglican Communion with which, for so many generations, the Orthodox Church has enjoyed such close and mutually beneficial relations.

Despite the current tensions within the Anglican Communion, we continue to be committed to dialogue. Our dialogue helps us all to re-discover the shared sources of the fullness of the Christian faith, especially in the Holy Scriptures as well as the Church Fathers and Saints whom we hold in common. It is by returning to the shared heritage, we believe, that we shall find the best way of healing the divisions that keep us separated from each other. For it is not in administrative structures or any form of accommodation, but in faith, that our unity in Christ will be firmly established.

This year Christians in both the East and the West enjoy the opportunity of celebrating the Feast of the Resurrection on the same day, and so we have also entered into the fast of Great Lent together.

‘Attend, O Heaven, and I will speak, and will sing of Christ,

who came to dwell among us in flesh which he took from the Virgin’.

We sing these words at the beginning of Great Lent in the Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete, and they remind us of the truth that we begin Lent with the remembrance of the Incarnation of the Logos. Our celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy yesterday is just this, an affirmation that God came to share our human nature, and so to teach us that our human nature comes from the same divine source.

In this spirit of our common humanity redeemed by Our Lord Jesus Christ, we bestow our Patriarchal blessing on your trip to the Holy Land, and we thank you again for your visit to the Patriarchate”.

To this address the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams responded broadly as follows:

‘It is for us, Your Beatitude, Bishop of the Jerusalem Church, a particular pleasure to meet with you again. We highly appreciate the stance of your Church and Your acceptance and participation in the Lambeth Conference. We pray for your Church as the local Church of Jerusalem that contributed greatly in conserving the Christian presence and identity in the Holy Land. The increasing presence of Christians in the Holy Land is a gift from God to the world. This is indeed possible because the Lord said to Paul, the Apostle of the Nations:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (B’ Corinthians 12,9)

Regarding the ‘Sunday of Orthodoxy’ which You celebrated yesterday, the Anglican Church views the decision of the 7th Ecumenical Synod on the reinstatement of the Holy Icons that they truly reflect the uncreated Light of the Lord and from Him as a source is diffused to the (faces) Saints. For all this we thank God and we thank Your Beatitude for the testimony which You give.

In light of the forthcoming visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Gaza the following day, His Beatitude spoke regarding the support of our Patriarchate for the people who were affected during last year’s clashes. His Beatitude spoke to the Archbishop of Canterbury about the financial and managerial crisis of the Middle East Council of Churches and the efforts of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to upgrade its role as a Christian organization, empowering it to be a single unified Christian voice and a testament for Christians in the Middle East and for the peaceful co-existence of Christians and Muslims. For this His Beatitude requested the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When asked about his Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury explained that it is founded on the apostolic faith and tradition, in which its structure is not hierarchical but based on a collective way of life and administration. However this system has a weakness in co-operation which sometimes creates difficulties, because each of the thirty one (31) Anglican Churches sometimes decides on its own regarding issues which require a collective undertaking and decision making process such as bioethics, sexuality and women in the priesthood, etc.

The Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams said ‘This is why we invited other Christian Churches, like Yours, to the Lambeth Conference to listen and to be of help. We have accepted the ordination of women into the priesthood and we are already facing the ordination of women to the level of Bishop which has become a serious problem for us.

In addition the Church of England takes part constitutionally in the issuing of state laws. This privilege is difficult because the truth has to be confessed in a secular environment’.

‘The Church of England has experienced a decline in the participation in sacraments of its believers over the last fifty years. In the last twenty years protestant groups have emerged with intentions rather of evangelizing and not so in participating in the sacraments.

However in the last five to six years around five hundred New Congregations of our Anglican Church have surfaced. This is encouraging, as well as the advent of approximately twenty people who were ordained into the priesthood. I consider these to be signs of God’s Grace within our Church, for which we implore Your prayers’.

His Beatitude concluded by referring to the historical connections of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem with the Anglican Church and the British Commonwealth. His Beatitude Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III thanked the Anglican Church for their help towards the church of Jerusalem in Qatar during the first stages of its founding there and accepted an invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury for an official visit to the Anglican Church when time permits.

His Beatitude offered the Archbishop of Canterbury a commemorative gift for his visit to the Patriarchate, a ceramic icon of ‘Theotokos of Bethlehem’ and the Patriarchate’s precious publication of sacred objects with illustrations from the Church of Resurrection edited by Professor Nikolaos Olymbiou. To the escort of the Archbishop, His Eminence Michael Jackson Bishop of Ireland, His Beatitude offered a book of illuminated manuscripts of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem by Professor Vokotopoulos. To the rest of the escorts, medals were given depicting 1500 years of the history of Jerusalem together with a photo album on ceremonies of Jerusalem by photographer Ms. Gali Tibbon.

The Archbishop of Canterbury kindly reciprocated by offering his Beatitude a volume of prose by English authors regarding the spirituality of the Anglican Church.

Also present at the meeting was the elderly Jerusalemite Dr. Ioannis Tlil, an old and distinguished member of the Church and Jerusalem’s community, who offered to the Archbishop of Canterbury a book entitled ‘I am Jerusalem’. This was followed by a commemorative photograph taken for the visit of the Anglican delegation with His Beatitude at the Throne.

Chief Secretary’s Office




SPEECH OF A GREEK ORTHODOX CITIZEN OF JERUSALEM, IN THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE “NEW PREMISES” BOOKSHOP

The “New Premises” educational bookshop designed to be the cultural heart of Jerusalem.  At the opening of the “New Premises” on November 20th 2009 at 19 Salah-Eddin street, East Jerusalem, Dr. John Tleel, author of the book “I am Jerusalem”, was asked to address the gathering. His address was the following:

“Respectable gathering. I would like to start by pointing out that you are facing in front of you, a three consecutive epochs person. 31 years a British Mandate epoch, 19 years Jordanian Rule, and since 1967 the Israeli occupation, and in addition my parents had witnessed the end of more than four centuries Ottoman Empire occupation, a period that to some extend affected me too. I will be very brief because to me this talk is not a gratifying task.

My first the best 20 years as a child, as a teenager, as a student at the St. Dimitri classical school of the Rum Orthodox Patriarchate, and as a dental student at the St. Joseph French University of Beirut from where Ι graduated in June 1949 when I was not yet 21 years of age, when I woke up in a state of shock at tasting the bitter taste of a 50 meters Palestinian refugee, this taste that until today has not disappeared from my tongue, my heart, my soul, my mind until death parts me the same way my father, my mother, my brother and my sister, and all those Palestinians who died with the bitterness of becoming refugees.

As a student at the Patriarchal Schools in the old city and coming daily from a few meters outside the New Gate for 14 years you can imagine, certainly if you have the right imagination, and sense that, what an eye witness I was then and what I see and I feel and experience today when I am speaking in front of you after nearing a century of time, the 20th and the 21st. And that goes to every corner, every inch of that city that had changed so much; and nothing has changed in this changing and unchanging world for John Tleel, this is why I often feel a lonely man. A man who weeps and weeps when at night the images and the icons, the holy and sacred icons of Jerusalem I see them today and everyday desecrated and vandalized by those who think that they have the right and the power to do whatever they want in that city that never ever belonged or belongs to nobody but… you can certainly guess my inner thoughts.

As a student at the Faculté Française de Médecine de Beyrouth-École Dentaire, I am one of the handful who lived and saw Palestine- Ras el Naqura- Beirut Lebanon- Amman Jordan and Transjordan- Damascus Syria till Aleppo of that fertile and at the same time turbulent but nostalgic time and period.

Those 20 years 1928 and 1948, outside the Old City in the vicinity of the New Gate between the Notre Dame de France then and of Jerusalem today and the beautiful walls that the daily cherished and caressed with the fingers of our hands and inspired me from that time until this moment. It is the Wall, my Wall that always accompanied me even in my dreams and in “I Am Jerusalem”, I sang the song of I AM THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM… I like also to use the plural form we, remembering my brother and sister, because together we used to play and feel and talked to it with love and affection, that part of the wall that was our private wall.

It is a historic moment for me to be this evening at this Palestinian, cultural, educational, national, Arab, and all that, that represent a city which accepted and heralded to the world what no other city could never ever have given to the world, the one and only God, the God of peace, the God of love, the God of justice, the God who created us brothers and we can witness it this very evening. Though life, in Jerusalem, made me a pessimist, now, I hope, at this advanced age and stage, a faint ray of optimism was born. Thank you Imad, brothers, and the Muna family for your great achievement, Thank you”.

John Tleel, Jerusalem, 20/11/2009.

Chief Secretary’s Office