Sunday, June 29, 2014

Patriarchate of Jerusalem Reacts, Escalating Tensions with Local Believers

Reacting to their letter demanding better spiritual care, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem decided on the evening of June 23 to stop paying the salary of Met Atallah Hanna of Sebastea and to transfer Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah from Jordan to Jerusalem. The latter decision was ostensibly a promotion to be "spiritual adviser" of the patriarchal seminary, but was interpreted both by Archimandrite Christophoros and by the faithful in Jordan as a move to unjustly remove him from the monastery he founded, since the seminary only has seven students, all Greek nationals and has long been beset with rumors of sexual abuse. Almost immediately, protestors gathered at the residence of Metropolitan Venedictos in Amman. They removed the picture of Patriarch Theophilos III from the wall and smashed it. They also delivered a letter for Venedictos to deliver to the patriarch. Yesterday, the 24th, another protest was held at the bishopric at Irbid in Northern Jordan, where Bishop Philomenos responded by taking a position strongly against the children of his Church and their needs. More info about these events can be found in Arabic (with pictures and video) here, in Greek here and English here.

The following day,  a large number of laypeople gathered at the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring in Dibeen, Jordan to show support for its founder, Archimandrite Christophoros, who has refused to be moved from his monastery. They formed a human chain around the monastery, singing "To Thee O Champion Leader" and denounced the arbitrary, oppressive decision taken by Patriarch Theophilos.

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