Friday, March 25, 2005

Palestinian Orthodox Controversy

I'm not sure what to say about this controversy. Many Palestinians are demanding the resignation of Irineos I, Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, accusing him of signing off on the sale of church property in Jerusalem to Jewish investors, a charge the Patriarch denies. A key figure in the case is Nikos Papadimas, a financial officer allegedly close to the Patriarch who vanished several months ago and is accused of embezzling church funds in Greece. Wikipedia suggests there has been tension for some time between the largely Greek elite of the Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem of treating the Arabs as second-class members of the church, so perhaps this is simply the spark that brought those tensions into the open. The presence of holy sites has basically served as a stumbling block to Palestinian Orthodox governing their own church, as they attract interest from other, larger and more powerful church centers - check out the web site. In any case, there's no hint in al-Jazeera that the situation is stirring up prejudice among Muslims against Palestinian Christians, which is a good thing. (The issue of discrimination against Jewish investors is tied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I won't deal with it here.)


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