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The patriarch and his property

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2004.02.29 Ha aretz: w w w . h a a r e t z d a i l y . c o m Sun., February 29, 2004 Adar 7, 5764 Israel Time: 02:44 (GMT+2) The patriarch and his property By
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28 9:28 PM
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      2004.02.29 Ha'aretz:

      w w w . h a a r e t z d a i l y . c o m
      Sun., February 29, 2004 Adar 7, 5764
      Israel Time:   02:44   (GMT+2)
      The patriarch and his property

      By Danny Rubinstein

       The Greek Orthodox Church elected Bishop Irineos as Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox Patriarch in August 2001, after which he was coronated. However, his appointment has yet to be approved. The Israeli government, which repeatedly postponed its approval, which is required by the church's constitution, finally gave the go-ahead this past January 25. However, powerful Israeli real estate interests apparently have been doing their utmost to prevent Irineos' appointment, and have filed petitions to the High Court of Justice to hold up the appointment.

      The affair began in December 2000, with the death of the previous patriarch Diodoros the First. The Orthodox Patriarchy is the oldest and richest one in Israel, and enjoys the status of a tiny empire. The patriarch is the omnipotent ruler of the church's huge properties in Israel and abroad. There is no higher power, religious or otherwise. The election process for the position is held within the patriarchy's institutions in Jerusalem, but the civil institutions governing the patriarchy's lands, which lie on both sides of the Jordan River, need to approve the selection.
      For hundreds of years, the Ottoman sultan was the sole ruler of these territories. But in recent years, the patriarchy's territories have had three governing authorities - Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian Kingdom.
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