The Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem announced its intention to select a new patriarch to replace Irineos I, who was ousted by the church last month.

The selection process will not begin in practice until an answer is received from Jordan, whose 1958 law regulates the patriarchate.

An official announcement came from Greece after Israeli officials said they continue to support Irineos.

The church removed Irineos from his post after he came under fire from Palestinians and others over the sale of church-owned  land in Jerusalem’s Old City to right-wing Israeli groups.

Jordan has recognized his ouster, whereas the Palestinian Authority has cleared Irineos of any involvement in the property deals.

The replacement process will begin “despite reservations on the part of Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” according to the Patriarchate’s statement.

A new report published in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds claimed that there is no evidence that Irineos was involved in any stage of the sales deal and no evidence that he has received any of the money that was transferred to the Patriarchate from the sale.

The report also said that the deal was not discussed in the Synod, but was planned by Nicolas Papadimus, who was in charge of the Patriarchate’s finances at the time, and some of his aides.

Samir Hleileh, PA cabinet Secretary General, said the report published in Al-Qud is part of a legal committee report and not from the PA minsterial commission of inquiry that has been investigating the case.

It is not an excuse, Hleileh added, that Irineos did not know about the actual sale, since he is was responsbible for assigning the people involved, including Papadimus, to their posts against the will of many Patriarchate officials.

Hleileh denied that the PA had completely cleared Irineos, as was widely reported earlier this week. He said the PA plans to form a special legal committee consisting of Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian ,and Greek lawyers to look further into the issue.

The report in Al-Quds claims that the property deal was plotted by opponents of Irineos whose interests coincided with those of the Israeli right-wingers who bought the church property.