New Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Elected
Metropolitan Irineos, who served as the representative for the Jerusalem Patriarch Greek Orthodox church in Athens for the past fifteen years, was selected Monday as the new Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, according to Haaretz.
Irianus was chosen to replace Diodoros I, who died in December.
The position of the Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem is the most important post in the Christian Holy Land. This was one of the most bitterly contested and scandal-ridden contests.
The election results will be passed to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority for formal approval, after which the new patriarch will take office, said the paper.
There were reportedly two stages in Monday's election. In the first, 50 senior officials of the Patriarchate, most of them of Greek origin, elected three final candidates, Metropolitans Timotheos, Irineos and Kornelios, from a list of 15 possible choices that emerged after the death of Diodoros.
The second stage involved a gathering of the Holy Synod of 17 senior clergymen - all Greeks - who chose one of the three candidates in a secret ballot.
Last week, Israel dropped its attempts to influence the elections.
The Orthodox Roman Patriarchate said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by the Palestinian news agency, WAFA, that Israeli Minister of Justice Mier Shetrit had submitted an official apology to the Patriarchate on behalf of his government for excluding five candidates.
A number of international organizations have condemned Israel for omitting the names of the candidates from the elections list and characterized it as unacceptable interference in the church's internal affairs.
The statement said: "Shetrit told the church officials in a letter that his government had decided to review the omission it made on the list and not to interfere in the new patriarch election issue reiterating that it was an internal church matter."
"The Israeli action has come after an extensive solidarity campaign and immense pressure put by many Christian international bodies, countries and figures on Israel. The church itself launched a media campaign to explain the seriousness of the Israeli interference in its own affairs and the impact of this on the status of Jerusalem and its holy sites. This is in addition to curb Israel and stop its interference in the church private affairs," the statement added.
The church statement appreciated the "leading role which the Palestinian National Authority and the Jordanian government have played in supporting the Patriarchate in this crisis indicating that this support contributed to a great extent to correct the faulty situation created by Israel." - Albawaba.com
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