Why is there a need for a Task Force for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem?
The Task Force was established is September 1994, as a grass roots support group for the orthodox Christians in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem who for over 400 years have suffered discrimination, oppression and abuse at the hands of the non- indigenous hierarchs.
What is the make up of the Church of Jerusalem?
The number of Orthodox Christians in Jordan and the Holy land is approximately two hundred thousand (200,000). The number of the Greek hierarchs who are recruited from Greece or Cyprus is less than one hundred. Thus the Church of Jerusalem is made up of 99.95% indigenous Orthodox Christians.
What is the history of the Jerusalem Church ?
The Church of Jerusalem is the Mother Church. The first patriarch in Jerusalem was St. James. Since then the line of apostolic succession to the patriarchal seat has been occupied by a hierarch elected form the local community, the majority of them being of Arabic heritage. When the last Arabic Patriarch Atalla became old and frail he resigned and recommended the elevation of Germanos, a Greek national, but an Arabic speaking bishop to the Patriarchal seat. Germanos quickly adopted a plan by which Arab clergy were denied elevation to the level of the episcopacy by forbidding them to remain celibate. During his long reign of over thirty years he replaced every Arabic bishop who retired or died by a Greek one, converting the entire patriarchate into a Greek institution. He also established the “Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre” an organization which follows a strict code of secrecy and deception, with membership reserved almost exclusive by Greeks.
How have the Hierarchs in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem betrayed the trust the Holy Spirit vested in them as shepherds of Christ’s Church? They have created a defacto schism in the church between clergy and lay people by forcing the faithful to be strangers in their own church. They have proclaimed a fallacy calling the Church of Jerusalem as the Church of the Greeks and for the Greeks. All this is against the teachings and traditions of our church. They have disposed recklessly of precious church property without any form of accountability to the faithful. They have neglected the material needs of the priests, churches and church schools by ignoring a proper theological education of the priests and the establishment of viable youth organizations. Moreover, in spite of its sizable income and vast real estate holdings, the patriarchate of Jerusalem uniformly has refused to repair or construct churches or church schools, or to establish low income housing for the underprivileged faithful, nor have the supported the needy Orthodox humanitarian organizations.
What are the repercussions of the above actions?
There is a steady and alarming decline in Orthodox Christianity in the Holy Land. The number of Orthodox Christians in comparison to the total number of Christians declined from 67% in 1948 to less than 25% now.
How can our Church of Jerusalem and our Orthodox Christianity there be preserved and rejuvenated?
To do this, it is imperative that two immediate actions must be taken simultaneously:
- We must support our churches under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem spiritually and materially.
- We must affect a fundamental change in the Patriarchate that will put practices back in line with the teachings of our faith and the holy canons of the Holy Orthodox Church.
Three ways you can help:
- By joining the Task Force and be an active member.
- By establishing or joining a chapter in your area
- By getting involved in the decision making by attending the annual Task Force conferences held in May or June each year.
The Task Force’s challenge to rejuvenate and to protect our Orthodox Christianity in the Holy Land may be, in fact, the single most important church project of modern history. Can we count on you support? Please join us in this worthy cause.
Articles on the Jerusalem Patriarchate:
- (القدس شهادتنا المشتركة كعرب وعنوان جهادنا- (جرجس ابرهيم صالح
- Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
- Orthodox Patriarch To Visit Amman
- Thousands Celebrate Induction Of Irenios I As Patriarch
- Orthodox Patriarchate to renegotiate Jerusalem leases