Thursday, May 05, 2005

Irineos I Watch

Eastern Orthodox leaders in Jerusalem have announced they are breaking off all contact with Patriarch Irineos I who stands implicated in several scandals including the sale of church land in Jerusalem to Israeli investors. This increases the pressure on Irineos to remove himself from the patriarchate. Meanwhile, Ha'aretz apparently got an interview with wanted financier Nikos Papadimas, who said Irineos was trying to win Israeli approval with the deal:
"The Israeli government refused to approve Irineos' election as Jerusalem's patriarch for two years as ministers accused him of hating Israel and being close to Yasser Arafat.

"In January 2004, the government gave its approval for his appointment, as required by tradition. Irineos negotiated the sale of the properties to a Jewish buyer and signed the deal soon afterward, in what could be seen as a payoff for making his installation as patriarch possible. The land's buyer is concealing his identity, apparently fearing international criticism of Israel for continuing to sponsor the acquisition of property in East Jerusalem."

Meanwhile, Danny Rubinstein contemplates who the Israeli investors were. All he has is speculation, but it's an angle worth considering.


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