Jordan set to recognize Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Jordan reverses decision over Jerusalem Patriarch
AMMAN (ANA-MPA - N. Melissova) The Jordanian government on
Wednesday officially announced that it has reversed its decision to
withdraw recognition from Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos III,
following a meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis
and Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Abdelelah Al-Khatib. The
decision to once again recognise Theophilos as Patriarch was made by
the Jordanian cabinet on Tuesday.
"This is an extremely positive development. We welcome it with
the certainty that the Jerusalem Patriarchate will continue to
fulfill without obstacles its so very important mission and good work
for all its congregation," Bakoyannis said in a statement to the
ANA-MPA after the one-hour meeting, noting that Al Khatib had briefed
her on the Jordanian cabinet's decision in detail.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Jordanian government spokesman
Nasser Judeh said that his government was satisfied with the letters
sent by the Patriarch and the Patriarchate's Holy Synod saying that
no Church land had been sold under Theophilos, adding that he had
"honoured all the commitments he undertook when he was appointed as
patriarch in 2005".
In the letters, Theophilos said that no concessions of Church
property had been made during his tenure and that he would continue
to protect the Patriarchate's property against every illegal land
On her arrival in Jerusalem during a tour of the Middle East,
the Greek foreign minister had intensive talks with both the
Patriarch and her Jordanian counterpart.
Theophilos III replaced Irineos I, who was ousted in May 2005
over claims that he had approved the unsanctioned sale of church
property to Jewish investors - an act that is barred under Israel's
peace agreement with Jordan in 1994.
On May 12 this year, the Jordanian government revoked
recognition of Theophilos after receiving what it said was
"documented evidence" that he was involved in transactions to sell or
lease church property in Jerusalem.
Jordan in about turn over Greek Orthodox patriarch
June 13, 2007
AMMAN -- Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis was meeting with
Jordanian officials Wednesday, a day after Amman revoked a decision
to withdraw its support for Jerusalem's Greek Orthodox patriarch.
The Jordanian cabinet announced late Tuesday that it revoked a May
decision to withdraw recognition of Patriarch Theophilos III for
"failing to fulfill his obligations."
"The cabinet took this decision after the government made sure the
patriarch fulfilled his obligations," government spokesperson Nasser
Jawdeh said in a statement following a cabinet meeting.
Bakoyannis arrived in Amman from Syria Tuesday night, but there was
no evidence that she had spoken with anyone about the matter before
the cabinet met.
Athens last month denounced Amman for withdrawing its backing for
Theophilos, saying that the move was hasty and ill-advised.
Theophilos was elected in August 2005 after his predecessor, Irineos
I, was deposed over a multimillion-dollar property scandal in which
ideologically motivated Jewish businessmen acquired church land in
Jerusalem's Old City.
When Amman's initial decision was announced in May, Jordanian Greek
Orthodox MP Awdeh Qawass said that it was a "political move to put
pressure on the patriarch to honor pledges" to recover the church
The patriarchate's Holy Synod met Monday and issued a joint statement
with Theophilos "stressing that no church land has been sold under
the patriarch's tenure," Jawdeh said.
Jawdeh also said that the patriarchate approved a request by the
government to appoint four Jordanians to an interim council that will
take part in decision-making.
Under church law, Theophilos' election had to be approved by Jordan,
Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.
Only Israel is holding out and has yet to recognize the dismissal of
Bakoyannis began her talks Wednesday with her Jordanian counterpart,
Abdel Ilah Al Khatib, the foreign ministry said. She was also due to
meet with Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit.