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Greek Orthodox patriarch sues Israel

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.12.02 AP: Greek Orthodox patriarch sues Israel JERUSALEM - The new Greek Orthodox patriarch of the Holy Land believes Israel is refusing to recognize his
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2005
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      2005.12.02 AP:

      Greek Orthodox patriarch sues Israel

      JERUSALEM - The new Greek Orthodox patriarch of the Holy Land believes
      Israel is refusing to recognize his elevation in order to extort his
      support for a controversial land lease to Jewish groups in east Jerusalem,
      a church official said.

      Patriarch Theofilos III, who has sued Israel to recognize his authority,
      will not approve the land deal made under ousted Patriarch Irineos, the
      official said Sunday on condition of anonymity because he is not an
      authorized spokesman.

      The long-term leases enraged the church's predominantly Palestinian flock
      because they strengthened the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem, which
      Palestinians claim as the capital of a future state.

      Church tradition requires Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan to approve a
      new patriarch. Israel, which wants Theofilos to back the leases, has not
      approved his appointment.

      Irineos was removed in May after the leases were publicized, world Orthodox
      leaders stopped recognizing his authority and a church tribunal in
      Jerusalem removed him from the hierarchy.

      Property dealings are highly sensitive for the 40,000-member Greek church,
      a major land owner in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Holdings
      include historic buildings in the Old City, prime real estate elsewhere in
      Jerusalem and the sites of some Israeli government buildings.
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