Church of England’s recognition signed off in Italy
THE Italian Prime Minister, Guiseppe Conte, has signed a treaty, that formally recognises the Anglican Church in his country. The diocese of Europe said that the move would allow Anglican clergy to enter Italy on religious visas, access the country’s clerical pension scheme, conduct legally valid Anglican weddings, and other rights. It also allows those who donate to Anglican chaplaincies in Italy to benefit from tax relief, and the Anglican Church in the country to receive a tax rebate as well from the State (News, 12 April).
Jerusalem patriarchate stands ground in property dispute
THE Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has vowed to continue its battle against an Israeli settler organisation, Ateret Cohanim, which has bought up several of its properties inside the Old City with the intent of boosting the Jewish population there. In an angry statement, the Patriarchate dismissed the rejection of its appeal by Israel’s Supreme Court and said that Ateret Cohanim’s actions were a “strike to the indigenous Christian presence in the Holy City”. The Church said that it had evidence that the land deal, which dates back to 2004, was agreed on a fraudulent and “corrupt” basis, and announced that it had launched a new lawsuit seeking to overturn the sale. It asked that heads of Churches from around the world join the Patriarchate to “defend the Holy Sites from all underhanded and immoral dealings”.
Iranian Christian released after term in prison
SEVADA Aghasar, an Iranian Christian, has reportedly been freed after serving half a five-year prison term in Iran. The Irish charity that supports persecuted Christians, Church in Chains, said that Mr Aghasar was freed last month. His sentence, imposed in 2015 and begun two years later, was for “acting against national security through house-church activities”. The group said that Mr Ashasar had probably been imprisoned, despite belonging to the officially tolerated Armenian Orthodox Church, because he associated with converts from Islam. One of his convert friends, Ebrahim Firouzi, was also jailed in 2015 and remains in Evin Prison, in Tehran.