Sunday, October 12, 2014

Another Protest by Jordanian Orthodox in Support of Archimandrite Christophoros

Arabic original here.

Orthodox Demonstrate in Support of Archimandrite Christophoros

For the second week in a row, large numbers from the Arab Orthodox Church have demonstrated in rejection of the policy followed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate at the Monastery of Our Lady The Virgin Mary The Life-Giving Spring in Dibbeen, renewing their absolute support for the Arab Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah and affirming their position rejecting the intervention of the Jordanian government in the internal decisions of the Church. Church members regard the decisions of the Greek Patriarch Theophilos to banish Archimandrite Christophoros, founder of the first monastery in Jordan, as being malicious.

Particularly noteworthy was the presence of current and former, Christian and non-Christian members of the Jordanian parliament who stood alongside church members and Orthodox organizations in embracing the demands of the Orthodox flock.

The MPs denounced the government’s intervention in internal church matters and its failure to apply law number 27 of 1958, which has led to the patriarch unilaterally issuing unfair and inflammatory decisions that do not serve the interests of the Church and are completely contrary to the historical demands of the faithful.

Prominent among those in present at the monastery were MP Jamil Nimri and MP Tarek Khoury, who expressed their absolute support for the legitimate demands being made by the Arab Orthodox flock in Jordan. The MPs stressed the necessity of knowing the government’s motives for intervening in the internal church matter insofar as the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is an institution subject to Jordanian law which must respect all provisions of the law and not merely involve the government when it deems doing so useful.

The president of the Orthodox Association, the engineer Bassem Farraj expressed the total rejection of the decision by Orthodox organizations. He also congratulated the election of the Jordanian Archimandrite Qays Sadek as a bishop in the Church of Antioch.

Various media personalities and writers who were present at the monastery expressed their denunciation of the decision to move Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah away from Jordan under the pretext of promoting him and giving him responsibilities in Palestine. They regard the Greek Orthodox flock in Jordan as having a pressing need for spiritual revival. Via telephone from Jerusalem, Archbishop Atallah Hanna expressed his absolute solidarity with Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah as he is a symbol of the revival in Jordan. He stated that the decision to transfer him is unjust and that it would have been more appropriate to consecrate him as a bishop.

The protesters stressed the maliciousness of the transfer decision, which was publicly announced  in the official newspapers but which, in their view  is part of the plan to drive away and reject Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah, since the Patriarchate did not do anything to announce the other malicious decisions that were issued by the Synod in Jerusalem at the same meeting.

They pointed to the Patriarch’s clear policy of excluding revivalist Arab priests, as the patriarch acted in the same manner to combat Archimandrite Dr Meletius Bassal, putting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to implement the decision to remove Bassal from Ramallah and especially with the pressure on Archimandrite Athanasius Kakish and Archbishop Atallah Hanna to scale back their role.

 Banners of support for the monastery and for Archimandrite Christophoros Atallah, signed by Jordanian tribes, were put up on the monastery’s walls.

More than 1000 of those present then signed a petition urging His Majesty King Abdallah II to intervene and correct the government’s current position, which the protesters believe to be contrary to His Majesty’s approach to support Christians in Jordan. Those present raised their voices in prayer and supplication to the Lord, the refuge of all Christians in Jordan and the region.

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