Arab Clerics at Jordan’s Orthodox Church Want Top Positions at Jerusalem\'s Patriarchy
The Orthodox Church congregation in Jordan is divided over whether Arab clerics should assume the helm of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, led by Greeks for centuries, according to a report by Jordan Times.
According to the English daily, Arab Greek Orthodox Church leaders and priests and the Orthodox Central Council called on the government to turn down a request by the Greek interim leadership to grant 72 Greek Orthodox priests Jordanian nationality - a prerequisite to join the Holy Sepulchre Brotherhood in line with a 1958 law on the Orthodox Patriarchate.
If the Greek Orthodox priests acquire Jordanian citizenship, the move will only reinforce Greek clout at the expense of the predominantly Arab element in the ancient denomination.
"We are not against them because they are Greeks. But because of the corruption, negligence and chaos in the Church Court and for selling and leasing land to Israel," Father Kamal (Stefanos) Farahat was quoted as charging.
"They have been leasing land to Israel for 99 years, while in some cases for 990 years," he told the Jordan Times on Saturday.
The controversy over the "Arabization" of the GOP flared once again months after the death of the Greek Patriarch Theodoros who was replaced by acting Greek patriarch, ahead of the patriarchate's elections.
The Holy Synod in Jerusalem has 17 Greek archbishops.
The Jerusalem Greek-Orthodox Patriarchy in Palestine has been accused of dealing in lands owned by the Orthodox Waqf (religious trust).
Three years ago, the church secretariat responded to criticism voiced by local community activists, claiming that it has played a beneficial role toward the local community by training priests and building churches, education and charity institutes.
Quoted by Haaretz on October 15, 1998, the Patriarchy justified its land deals by claiming that they cannot ignore "the new reality created by the founding of the state of Israel," but at
the same time it has given worshipers land to set up churches and schools, for example in Jordan. On the eve of its congress that year, the Patriarchy called
for co-existence and cooperation between the Greek clergy and Arab believers – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)