The Greek Ambassador's statement can be read here. This text has been provided directly by the Jordanian Orthodox protesters to this blog. It will soon also appear on Jordanian websites.
Christ is Risen!
We would like to thank her Excellency the Greek Ambassador for her response. However, she should realize that she was responding to something other than the concerns we actually raised. This in itself is strongly indicative of the deep and dangerous disconnect between the Patriarchate (along with the Greek Foreign Ministry, its advocate) and its flock.
I kindly invite the Greek Ambassador to examine and discuss with us the actual, concrete demands that the Orthodox faithful are making to the Patriarchate and not to divert attention from these issues. Unfortunately, this means that there is a great deal to discuss as there is a great need for reform.
To begin with, we are demanding the Patriarchate to implement the diocesan system, as foreseen in the Holy Canons, according to which dioceses are ruled by diocesan bishops who have full ecclesiastical, pastoral and episcopal authorities and not by patriarchal vicars as is currently the case. We also demand the immediate end to all the current violations of the Jordanian law 27/1958. Furthermore, we demand that monasticism be opened up to our youth in their own country and that the internal bylaws of the Monastery of Our Lady the Virgin Mary the Life-Giving Spring in Dibbeen be recognized. Moreover, a theological seminary be opened in Jordan so that our youth can receive a proper theological education and better serve the Church. Why are all these demands continuously being neglected? Why didn’t the Greek Ambassador address these issues in her response?
It is extremely sad that the Greek Ambassador is asking us to promote unity and tolerance, while the current leadership of the Patriarchate is meting out all kinds of undeserved retributions against the Arab priests. Where is the tolerance in the current situation of the Arab monks who are either languishing outside their countries because they are not allowed to serve in Jordan and Palestine or are suffering greatly here because of unjust treatment at the hand of the Patriarchate?
Her Excellency’s second remark about the current Catholic Pope being from Argentine and not from Italy is a solid proof that Catholicism shows a much stronger tolerance towards clergy from all over the world, something that we seriously miss here in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Not only have our Patriarchs been Greek for the past 500 years, but during this time also any clergyman who is not of Greek origin is mistreated. The Patriarchate perceives any demand by non-Greek clergy for equal rights to be a threat and immediately responds with mistreatment and persecution of those who voice the truth. It is deeply distressing that we have to ask our Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem to learn how to treat its clergy equally from the example of other churches.
Her Excellency’s final remark about the relationship between Jordan and Greece was rather obscure and appeared irrelevant to the context of the sit-in and our current protest. When Jordanian citizens stand in front of their Prime Ministry and demand that their government enforce Jordanian Law, why would the Ambassador of a foreign country be concerned? This is purely a national issue and only concerns Jordanian citizens. We have no issues with people from Greece. In fact, some of our relatives are married to Greeks and we hold them dearly in our hearts. We are only protesting the arrogance of the Patriarchate and its illegal and un-Orthodox actions towards Jordanian and Palestinian Citizens.
Finally, since Her Excellency has strong connection with the Patriarch Theophilos III, I kindly ask her to set up a meeting between the Patriarch and few representatives of the youth of his flock in her presence, where we can discuss our demands freely and openly. This will be a great opportunity to bridge the deep gap between him and the local flock. I put this urgent request in the Ambassador’s hands before the current status of our Church worsens and more damage occurs. To conclude, our aim is not to criticize anyone “on grounds of their nationality”, but rather demand equal treatment without regard to nationality, so that together we may see a spiritual revival among the Orthodox Christians of this land.