Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III said, Sunday, that a two-week old Israeli District Court ruling upholding a 99-year lease of church property in Jerusalemâ€™s Old City, to Jewish settler organizations, is politically motivated.
Theophilos said, at a press conference in the Jordanian capital of Amman, that this legal battle, which has been going on for a decade, has resulted in an unjust decision that has ignored very clear legal evidence presented by the church, which made it clear that it was done in â€śbad faith, bribery and conspiracyâ€ť for the benefit of the group of settlers from Ateret Cohanim.
He said, according to WAFA, that this ruling can â€śonly be explained as politically motivated.â€ť
He said that 40 members of the Israeli parliament are pushing for a law which would alter the rights of the churches in Jerusalem in freely handling their property, warning that this bill, if passed, would violate international treaties and infringe on freedom of worship.
The patriarch said his church is going to appeal the District Courtâ€™s ruling, which he said will have a grave negative impact on Christian presence in the Holy Land, at the Israeli Supreme Court.
â€śThe church will do everything within its power so that this unjust ruling will be overturned,â€ť he said.
He called on church and world leaders to coordinate their activities and intervene to prevent this ruling from taking hold.
(PNN archive image)
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.