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Christians under threat, says Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

by
14 January 2022

Alamy

Palestinian worshippers from the Greek Orthodox community pray during Christmas liturgy at St Porphyrios’s, Gaza, last Friday. The majority of Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas on 7 January

Palestinian worshippers from the Greek Orthodox community pray during Christmas liturgy at St Porphyrios’s, Gaza, last Friday. The majority of Orthodo...

THE Christian presence in Jerusalem is under threat from “Israeli radical fringe groups”, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, has warned in an article in The Times on Saturday.

“At the hands of these Zionist extremists the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly,” he wrote. “Our brothers and sisters are the victims of hate crimes. Our churches are regularly desecrated and vandalised. Our clergy are subject to frequent intimidation.”

An “Israeli radical group” was “seeking to occupy” two buildings at the Jaffa Gate, “acquired through illegitimate transactions”, he continued. “Their behaviour will be devastating for all Christians. Local families, who have lived here for generations, will be made to feel unwelcome in their own home and pilgrims who have longed to visit the birthplace of the Christian faith will have their experience diminished.”

These radicals were “not representative of the state of Israel or the Jewish people”. Possession of the Jaffa Gate properties is the subject of a long-running dispute (News, 10 November 2017).

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