Friday, June 19, 2015

Wikileaks: Archbishop Atallah Hanna Sought and Received Saudi Funding

So the Wikileaks Saudi Cables, which have just started to be posted online, are going to prove to be very embarrassing for a lot of people. The only cable of interest so far (with 60,000 out of 500,000 documents released) with regard to the Orthodox Church is a cable from the Saudi embassy in Jordan, stating that in 2011, Archbishop Atallah Hanna contacted them with a request for money and they agreed to give him $200,000. The document, also reproduced below, can be found here.

UPDATE: Archbishop Atallah has responded to this document and has categorically stated that he has never requested or received Saudi funding and that this document may be due to financial fraud on the part of someone at the embassy. It should be noted in his favor that the archbishop's political position with regard to the Syria crisis has always been strongly in favor of the Syrian government and against the policies of the Saudis. Please read his response here.

With reference to your cable no. 3772/206 dated 23.10.1432 Hijri [= September 21, 2011] concerning the request for monthly or lump sum financial assistance from the Archbishop of Sebaste of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the bishop in Jerusalem Dr Atallah Hanna.

We inform of the issuance of Royal Decree no. 24965 dated 17.5.1433 [= April 8, 2012] to provide a lump sum personal assistance through the Ministry [of Foreign Affairs] of (200,000) two hundred thousand dollars by the embassy in Amman and to evaluate the results of this on his future positions.

The Ministry hopes that the necessary steps will be taken. Best regards.

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