Catholic World News
Jerusalem, Jun. 02 (AsiaNews) - Although the Greek Orthodox synod has
voted overwhelmingly to oust Patriarch Ireneos of Jerusalem, Israeli
police are maintaining the controversial prelate in office, the
AsiaNews service reports.
In a detailed analysis written from Jerusalem for AsiaNews, Father
David Jaeger, a Catholic expert on Church-state relations in Israel,
remarks that the Israeli government's involvement in the dispute
among Orthodox leaders is an evident violation of the regime's
promise of religious freedom.
Patriarch Ireneos, who has clashed repeatedly with other Christian
leaders in Jerusalem, was condemned by his own faithful when it came
to light that he had sold property inside the walled Old City to
Jewish investors. The transfer of property was seen as a betrayal by
Orthodox believers who are intent on maintaining the Christian
presence in Jerusalem. After bishops in the region announced that
they would no longer accept Ireneos' leadership, the Orthodox synod
voted to remove him from office.
In a tradition dating back to the Ottoman empire and beyond, the
Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem must be confirmed by the government.
Jordan, which controlled the city before 1968, still claims that
right; Israel has never asserted it. But Israeli authorities have not
acknowledged the Orthodox synod's decision to depose the patriarch
and elect a successor.