Greek Orthodox Patriarch names Palestinian to Holy Synod
Last update - 08:31 02/12/2005
By Arnon Regular
Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofilos III made a series of appointments
yesterday that introduced Palestinian and Arab Israeli clerics into
the predominantly Greek church hierarchy.
At a meeting of the Holy Synod at the patriarchate in Jerusalem,
Archimandrite Atallah Hanna was made Bishop of Sebastia. Hanna has
served as a spokesman for the church on Arab networks, where he
expressed support for suicide bombers.
The patriarch also appointed two bishops of Greek origin, and
promoted four priests to archimandrites.
In another first, Theofilos appointed to the Synod a 30-year-old
Palestinian priest from Beit Jala, Galaktion.
The promotion of Hanna and Galaktion follows demands from the local
congregation to be involved in managing the patriarchate. Since his
inauguration just 10 days ago, Theofilos has also come under heavy
pressure from the Palestinian Authority and Jordanian government to
promote Palestinian priests and bring Hanna into the Synod. He opted
for a compromise, promoting Hanna but bringing Galaktion into the
Theofilos appointed the Metropolitan Vasilius as his deputy, as well
as a new Synod secretary and a new director for the finances