Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Update on the Dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem

Apologies for this being the translation of a translation. The below is based on the French here, translated from a report on here. The text of Patriarch Theophilos' letter to Patriarch John can be read, in Greek, here.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem remains firm in its initial position regarding its ecclesial jurisdiction over Qatar but, according to some reports, it is proposing to the Patriarchate of Antioch-- which questions the Church of Jerusalem's rights over the diocese in question-- to form a special commission made up of scholars of canon law in order to study and document ecclesial jurisdiction in the region. The same sources mention that the Patriarchate of Antioch has already received a letter from the patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos, in which he responds to the arguments elaborated by the patriarch of Antioch, John, in his previous letter. Figures from the Church of Antioch in contact with the website call the Patriarchate of Jerusalem's expression of support for the Syrian people tried by the clashes of the Civil War a sign of brotherly love. Nevertheless, regarding the dispute that has arisen over Qater, they report that Jerusalem maintains its initial position and that its proposal to have the question discussed by a group of specialized scholars as part of the dialogue between the two churches has been reiterated. According to the same sources, the patriarch of Jerusalem, recalls in his letter his constant position regarding his canonical presence and pastoral activity in Qatar, as they were elaborated in a letter going back to March 2013. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem reiterates its disposition toward dialogue and negotiations that it showed in its willingness to participate in the four-way negotiations recently held in Athens under the auspices of Costas Tsiaras, at the time the Greek vice-minister of Foreign Affairs,  with the participation of representatives from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. As far as the Church of Antioch's warning about it suspending communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem if it does not leave Qatar, the patriarch of Jerusalem stresses in his letter to patriarch John of Antioch that that such an act would shatter the unity of the sister Churches and of all Orthodoxy.

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