Greek Orthodox church intends to block home sale in court

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017|8:42 p.m.

AMMAN, Jordan– The Greek Orthodox patriarch in the Holy Land announced Saturday that his church will appeal an Israeli court choice that approved the sale of prime church home to business representing Jews looking for to expand their presence in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The church had challenged the property deal in court for the previous decade, arguing it was carried out unlawfully by the since-deposed previous patriarch and was for that reason void.

The Jerusalem District Court supported the offer two weeks ago, paving the way for three big residential or commercial properties near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate to be leased for 99 years to Ateret Cohanim, a group that has been buying properties for Jews in typically Arab areas of Jerusalem.

Patriarch Theophilos III alleged Saturday that the lower court ruling was “politically inspired” and stated the church would interest Israel’s Supreme Court.

The church will do “whatever within its power so that this unjustified ruling will be overturned,” he stated at a news conference in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

Theophilos leads a predominantly Arab flock of 220,000 Christians in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Greek Orthodox church is among the biggest homeowner in the Holy Land, consisting of in Jerusalem’s Old City, one of the most delicate locations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Old City is part of east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians wish to establish a state in the war-won lands, with east Jerusalem as a capital.

Israel’s current federal government declines any partition of Jerusalem as part of a possible peace offer. Since 1967, some 200,000 Jews have actually settled in east Jerusalem areas developed for them by succeeding Israeli federal governments, making partition increasingly tough. In addition, Jewish inhabitant groups have purchased homes in Arab communities.

The patriarch likewise expressed issue about exactly what he stated was an effort by some members of Israel’s parliament to limit the rights of his church and other Christian denominations in the Holy Land to deal individually with their property holdings.

He urged the heads of churches to find a joint response to “this alarming and severe development” that he stated will impact Christians in the area and worldwide.

“We can not worry too extremely the extreme seriousness of the circumstance,” Theophilos stated. He contacted world leaders to intervene.

Over the last few years, there have actually been growing stress between the primarily Greek church management and the Arab flock, consisting of over the administration of the huge residential or commercial property holdings and land leases to Israel in west Jerusalem.

Critics have actually consistently demanded that the church offer information about its holdings.

On Saturday, church officials declined to answer when asked about the holdings.

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