WCC NEWS: Israel should recognize Jerusalem Greek Patriarch says WCC
- 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 ORTHODOX
CHURCH OF JERUSALEM
"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
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,"
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.