Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 12:39:35 -0800
Greek patriarch avoids Israeli Christmas party
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 29, 2005
The new Greek patriarch of the Holy Land stayed away from the annual
Christmas gathering at the Israeli president's residence Thursday
because the church's ousted former patriarch also was invited, a
"The church cannot have two patriarchs," said the Greek Orthodox
Church secretary, Archbishop Aristarchos.
The current patriarch, Theofilos III, replaced Irineos I after he was
ousted in May amid allegations of leasing church property in
Jerusalem's Old City to Jewish settler groups. Israel has not
recognized Irineos's removal or the church's election of Theofilos.
Theofilos has petitioned Israel's Supreme Court for the state to
recognize him because church rules require governmental approval in
areas where his flock lives. For Theofilos, this includes Israel,
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The latter two recognize him.
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