04/23/2006, 00.00
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Israeli government accepts Orthodox Easter Vigil presided by Theophilos III

by Arieh Cohen
Officially the Israeli Government still maintains that deposed Ireneos is the legitimate Patriarch and refuses to recognise Theophilos.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Greek Orthodox monks, clergymen and lay faithful took part on Saturday in the celebration of "Saturday of the Light" (Holy Saturday) centred on the Basilica of the Resurrection (the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem), on the eve of Easter according to the Orthodox calendar. The supreme moment of the celebration occurred, as every year, when the Greek Orthodox Patriarch brought out of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre the torch lit by "miraculous fire from heaven" according to popular Orthodox belief. Until almost the last moment it was unclear whether the Israeli Government would let Patriarch Theophilos III preside over the celebrations. In the end the Government bowed to the pressure of Orthodox public opinion throughout the world and let the Patriarch carry out his liturgical duties, while his deposed predecessor, Ireneos, remained in his residence, surrounded by his armed guards. Officially, the Israeli Government still maintains that Ireneos is the legitimate Patriarch and refuses to recognise Theophilos. In fact, the Government demands that Theophilos legitimise the sale by Ireneos of prominent properties of the Patriarchate in Jerusalem to Israeli settlers as a condition of granting Government recognition to Theophilos. Ireneos had been deposed precisely because of that sale, which outraged Christian public opinion. Ireneos himself denies that he had authorised the sale of the properties and claims that the relevant documents were forgeries.

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Ireneos I is still the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, says Israeli government
Jordan recognises Theophilos III as Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
Israel ready to recognise Theophilos as Jerusalem's new patriarch
Whilst Theophilos III celebrates Orthodox Christmas in Bethlehem, Palestinian Christians protest
08/01/2018 17:51
Theophilos III slams Israeli court over illegally obtained Greek Orthodox properties
14/08/2017 16:34


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