Monday, July 14, 2014

Arab Orthodox Hold Another Round of Protests in Jordan

As part of a series of demonstrations directed at the Orthodox Church in Palestine and Jordan, the Arab Orthodox youth held a sit-in in front of the bishopric in Amman's Sweifieh neighborhood. In attendance were groups of men, women and youth from the Arab Orthodox flock who protested what they termed the "foreign colonialism" that has been suffocating the Orthodox Church for centuries. This colonialism, currently represented by Patriarch Theophilos and his synod, has been bleeding the Orthodox Church and her flock dry and draining her of her talents and capabilities. It continues to bleed her of what remains of her flock in Palestine and Jordan and is causing her to lose her spiritual and national identity through anti-ecclesial and uncanonical policies. The demonstration began with a prayer read by the priests present for the souls of those killed in Gaza and Occupied Palestine and for the elimination of injustice and spread of peace throughout the world.

Particularly noteworthy at this demonstration and without precedent in Jordanian society is the participation of several Orthodox clergymen in solidarity with the sons and daughers of Orthodoxy. One of the most prominent of these clergymen was Archimandrite Athanasius Kakish, who sent a letter a few weeks ago to His Majesty King Abdallah II concerning the Orthodox situation.

The protesters reiterated their deep dissatisfaction with Metropolitan Venediktos, whom they consider to be a superficial bishop without a position of his own, only representing the policies of the current patriarch Theophilos. They denounced any infringement upon any patriotic Arab clergyman and declared that any decision against them will be considered completely unacceptable. In addition to this, the Arab Orthodox youth exposed all the malicious policies against Metropolitan Atallah Hanna, Archimdandrite Christophoros Atallah and Archimandrite Meletios Bassal, including the arbitrary transfers, discontinuation of salaries and exile practiced by Theophilos and his synod while at the very same time the Patriarchate provides cover for Father Gabriel Naddaf, who encourages Arab Christians to enlist in the army of the Israeli occupation and describes legitimate Palestinian resistance as "terrorism".

Voices were raised declaring that Theophilos' policies have caused him to lose his legitimacy and canonicity as patriarch and have delegitimized his synod. They reiterated that the Monastery of the Virgin in Dibbeen and Archimandrite Christophoros are a red line and that there is no authority that can infringe upon the monastery or remove Father Christopher from his monastery. The speeches that were made affirmed the Christians' Arab identity, that they are fundamental and authentic part of this nation, and that the current policies of the Orthodox spiritual leadership are contributing to emptying the Arab Middle East of its Christians. Demands were made for His Majesty King Abdallah II to intervene personally in this issue, which is being deliberately distorted. Finally, exclamations were made for the Church and her unity and for the long life of His Majesty the king.

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