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WCC NEWS: Israel should recognize Jerusalem Greek Patriarch says WCC

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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    World Council of Churches - News Release For immediate release - 03/10/2006 11:12:07 AM WCC URGES ISRAEL TO RECOGNIZE THEOPHILUS III AS HEAD OF THE GREEK
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2006
      World Council of Churches - News Release
      For immediate release - 03/10/2006 11:12:07 AM


      "The World Council of Churches (WCC) calls for the prompt and unqualified
      recognition of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III as the primate of the
      Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem by the Government of Israel," said WCC
      general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in a letter sent to Israel's prime
      minister Ehud Olmert on
      29 September.

      Under long-standing agreements, the election of the patriarch of Jerusalem,
      the oldest and largest church in the Holy Land, is endorsed by the Israeli,
      Jordanian and Palestinian authorities.
      The Israeli authorities have, however, refused to validate the August 2005
      election of the leader of the WCC's largest member church in the Holy Land,
      and have thus prevented the church from fulfilling its regular functions.

      Qualifying this refusal as an "unjustified delay", the WCC general secretary
      also objected to Israel's continued recognition of the "duly deposed" former
      patriarch Irineos which, he stated, was "in contravention of the actions of
      the legitimate religious representatives" of the church in Jerusalem.

      The WCC central committee meeting in September 2006 requested the general
      secretary to intervene with the Israeli government on this issue.

      "I would end this letter with the observation that meaningful and
      appropriate demonstrations of respect for religion do honour to those in
      positions of power in every place. Nowhere is this more the case than in the
      divided city of Jerusalem and among communities around the world that look
      to it in faith and hope,"
      concluded Kobia.

      The full text of the letter sent to Israel's prime minister is available on
      the WCC website at:

      See also WCC press release on the visit of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of
      Jerusalem to the WCC in May 2006:

      Additional information: Juan Michel, +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363

      The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
      service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
      founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox,
      Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
      over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
      The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church
      in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
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