The Jordanian Minister of Interior Awni Yerfas announced on Sunday that he has received a list of candidates succeed the dismissed Patriarch Irineos I to the Jerusalem Patriarch post.

The list includes 13 candidates, among which three will be elected to the first stage.  One of the three will then be elected in the second and last stage.

Irineos was dismissed by the church over a suspicious sales deal involving church property in the old city of Jerusalem.  Irineos is accused of selling the property to right-wing Jewish merchants.

The candidate list must be approved by Jordan before the election process can start.  According to Jordanian law Islamic and Christian church property and affairs in Jerusalem is to be supervised by Jordan.

In May the Jordanian government approved the dismissal of Irineos and last June, the Palestinian authority approved it as well.  For Irineos to be officially dismissed, Israel must approve it, yet Israel has refrained from doing so.

The Patriarchal board consists of 18 clergymen, most of them are from Greece, and none of the board are Arab.  The Jordanian law of 1958 demanded Arab participation in the highest church board. However, in 1967 the Greek Patriarch, Bendikos of Jerusalem violated this article and had only Greek clergy on the board.