Holy Land-What's with Bp Irineos?


#1

If Israelis and Palestinians ever achieve peace, it likely will not result from the efforts of the Holy Land’s most prestigious Christian prelates.

In “Patriarch of Terror,” Front Page Magazine exposed the anti-Semitism of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and his collaborationist relationship with Yasser Arafat. Sabbah, however, is not alone.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Irineos I, and his former spokesman, Father Atallah Hanna, have used even more virulent rhetoric in their own collaborationist campaign. That rhetoric includes supporting suicide bombing, charging the Jews with deicide and advocating their expulsion from the Holy Land.
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Irineos originally was appointed as the Greek Orthodox patriarch in September 2001 but did not officially take office until this January. According to Greek Orthodox procedures, local governments must approve the appointment. Jordan and the Palestinian Authority – two of the three areas encompassing the patriarchate*-- approved Irineos. Israel withheld approval because of his suspected support for Arafat.
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Israeli suspicions were confirmed by a July 2001 letter that Irineos sent to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative to Greece, Abdullah Abdullah. Irineos, the patriarchate’s diplomatic representative to Athens at the time, was one of five candidates rejected by Israel’s justice minister, Meir Sheetrit. So Irineos asked Arafat to use his influence among Arabs world to pressure Israel to reconsider.
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Although Irineos’ English is awkward, his message is clear:
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"You are aware of my opinions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, as well as the support that consecutively I offered in the past in the fight of your people and your nation.
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“You are aware of my multiple interventions towards the late Patriarch Diodoros and the Greek Government and the international forums for the rights of the Palestinian (sic) to have their independent state with its capital Jerusalem.”
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But this is the letter’s most damning evidence:
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“You are finally aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulcher Fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus Christ, actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists (sic) Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine. (emphasis added).”
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Should Arafat’s influence prove successful, Irineos continued, “Rest assured, Mr. President, that the rights of the most beloved Palestinian people on the Holy City of Jerusalem will find their most ‘hot’ supporter. Our beloved Mr. Chouri (Arafat’s personal secretary) will inform you accordingly regarding what we have discussed of the real estate of our Patriarchate within the boundaries of the Old City.”
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Irineos suggests more than a quid pro quo. He suggests a combined effort to remove any Jewish presence from Jerusalem – and, eventually, from all of Israel.
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A 1998 security report presented to the Israeli cabinet stated that the Palestinian Authority seeks to control church-owned property, particularly in Jerusalem. The Palestinians’ big target is the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, the largest and wealthiest church in the Holy Land. The patriarchate derives its wealth from extensive land holdings throughout Israel that it accumulated through the centuries
– including the land on which the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and the president’s and prime minister’s official residences sit.
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The report also stated that “Chouri,” Irineos’ misspelling of Ramzi Khouri, was working with Fatah’s Marwan Barghouti to create a union of Orthodox Palestinian Christians that would act as a pressure group for the Palestinian Authority…"

frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16864


#2

Christmastime in Bethlehemdoes notstand for*”peace on earth” but for intensified jihad against the occupying Jews, as least according tothe highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate in the Holy Land.
Michel Sabbah, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has praised jihad, justified suicide bombing, and led marches at the behest of the late Yasser Arafat –leading some to question whose bidding the patriarch is doing.
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Sabbah, an Arab and a native of Nazareth, expressed his collaborationist sympathies most forcefully during a visit to a refugee camp near Bethlehem in 1999. During that visit, the patriarch placed a wreath on a memorial to so-called “martyrs.” He then maintained that the right of return is “an existing fact that cannot be given up,” and declared that Israel’s “extracting our rights in all circumstances is a form of jihad” against the Palestinians.
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However, he has not always objected to holy war. “Love is power and jihad and does not express weakness,” he told the newspaper Al-Quds.
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Sabbah goes further by excusing suicide bombing as a legitimate response to Israeli policy. Sabbah said in a 2002 videotape to Palestinian Christians:
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Ours is an occupied country, which explains why people are tired and blow themselves up. The Israelis tell Palestinians: Stop the violence and you will have what you want without violence. But one has seen in the history of the last ten years that the Israelis have moved only when forced by violence. Unfortunately, nothing but violence makes people march. And not only here. Every country has been born in blood.
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Sabbah’s service to Yasser Arafat’s terrorists extends beyond words. On New Year’s Eve 2002, the patriarch led a “peace” march toward one of the Israeli checkpoints. Only about 200 people – most of them Italian pilgrims – joined Sabbah. A Franciscan priest named Father Ibrahim explained to Italian journalist Massimo Toschi from Missioni Oggi (the monthly published by the Xaverian missionaries) why the march attracted so few people. “He says that…the patriarch organized the march at Fatah’s request and that this was a mistake,” Toschi wrote, “because the next time the request will come from Hamas and the patriarch won’t be able to say no.” The Fatah organization, which Arafat founded in 1959, is dedicated to creating a Palestinian state by destroying Israel. Patriarch Sabbah literally follows their marching orders.
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Sabbah has worked with a variety of other Palestinian terrorists, as well. In 2000, Sabbah met with Arafat in Gaza as an act of “Christian solidarity with the Palestinian leadership,” according to a press release from the patriarch’s office. The release’s author took great pains to mention by name the Christians in Arafat’s inner circle – including George Nabash, founder of the Marxist-oriented Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
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Sabbah’s anti-Semitism is deep and overt, as evidenced by his remarks toward Arafat during Christmas Mass in 1995. In welcoming Arafat, the patriarch “was happy to recall” how Byzantine Patriarch Sophronius tried to persuade Muslim Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab to prohibit Jews from living and worshipping in Jerusalem after conquering it in 636
– eight years after Sophronius instigated a widespread massacre of Jews. “In the end,” Sabbah once said, “we will send them away just as we did to the Crusaders.”
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Indeed, he seemed to call for the full-scale demolition of the Jewish
state during a proclamation at the 2000 Christmas Mass: “This is our land, to claim our freedom, among our demolished houses and in our besieged towns and villages.”
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The patriarch engaged in a worldwide PR effort for terrorists duringthe seven-week stalemate between Palestinian gunmen and the Israeli army at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002 – although his testimony was contradicted by others in his church. When gunmen invaded thechurch and began*their seven-week occupation on April 1, Sabbah “immediately declared that the entering Palestinians were not armed, were willingly accepted into the Church by the friars, and given asylum,” Sergio Minerbi wrote for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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Two days later, Franciscans, who serve as Catholic custodians of holy sites, refuted the patriarch. Spokesman David Jaeger, a Franciscan priest, wrote that the ensuing Israeli siege resulted from “the violent invasion affected by armed men who thereafter barricaded themselves there.” Jaeger also told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz that “when the battle started, the doors of the Basilica were closed. Armed Palestinians fired at the locks, entered the Basilica, and barricaded themselves in the compound.”

frontpagemag.com/articles/Printable.asp?ID=16525


#3

[quote=HagiaSophia]The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Irineos I, and his former spokesman, Father Atallah Hanna, have used even more virulent rhetoric in their own collaborationist campaign. That rhetoric includes supporting suicide bombing, charging the Jews with deicide and advocating their expulsion from the Holy Land.
[/quote]

Since this is an up-to-date article one can only conclude that the author is being malicious. Father Hanna was fired almost THREE years ago by the Patriarch because of his anti-Jewish statements. This is very well known.

Greek patriarch fires archmandrite Atallah Hanna
over claims of supporting Palestinian terrorism

Palestine, Politics, 7/13/2002

arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/020713/2002071311.html

The Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem Arinous 1st on Thursday fired Archamandrite Attallah Hanna from his post as an official spokesman for the Orthodox church in Jerusalem and the holy lands.

In a statement he made following a meeting he held on Thursday with an Israeli official at the headquarters of the Orthodox patriarchy in Jerusalem, the patriarch accused Hanna of “supporting the Palestinian terrorism,” noting Hanna’s rejection to sign a document condemning the Palestinian operations. Arinos stressed that his church can not ignore any side that practices violence, noting that Hanna supports the “Palestinian violence.”

The patriarch announced appointing the Greek Rev. Afikhous as a spokesman for the church instead of its Arab spokesman ( Hanna ). He continued that any position to be made by Hanna as from now represents just his personal position and not necessarily the Orthodox church which voices its sympathy with the victims of terrorism and violence.

Meantime, Orthodox Arab figures described the decision of firing Hanna as political rather than being pertinent to the church.

To this effect the Arab Orthodox community in Palestine issued an urgent statement in reply to the statement made by the Greek patriarch in which it called on the Greek foreign ministry to interfere to stop the patriarch. The statement stressed that Hanna will be the spokesman for the church whether the Greeks accept that or not.

The Arab Orthodox figures called on the Arab states which have relations with Greece to notify the Greek diplomacy with the grave consequences of what the Greek Patriarch had done. The Arab figures explained that a delegation will head for Jordan in order to meet with officials in Jordan to this effect. It urged the Orthodox Arab Christian communities in Palestine and Jordan to boycott the Greek Patriarch and to take deterrent measures against him, considering that the ( Greek) patriarch exploited the state of siege on the Palestinian authority to release his decision against Hanna.


#4

[quote=HagiaSophia]Israeli suspicions were confirmed by a July 2001 letter that Irineos sent to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative to Greece, Abdullah Abdullah. Irineos, the patriarchate’s diplomatic representative to Athens at the time, was one of five candidates rejected by Israel’s justice minister, Meir Sheetrit. So Irineos asked Arafat to use his influence among Arabs world to pressure Israel to reconsider.
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Although Irineos’ English is awkward, his message is clear:
**
But this is the letter’s most damning evidence:
*
“You are finally aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulcher Fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus Christ, actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists (sic) Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine. (emphasis added).”
[/quote]

Phew, this article just goes from bad to worse. The letter is acknowledged by all, including the Israelis, to be a forgery. An internet search will turn up evidence confirming this.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch’s Anti-Semitic Letter a Forgery

Published in the Jerusalem Post, December 27, 2002
By Haim Shapiro

JERUSALEM, December 27, 2002 (JP) – The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is planning to file a complaint with the police over a report in Ma’ariv on Thursday which said that before being elected to his present post, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Irineos I had written an anti-Semitic letter to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The newspaper report came only a day after Israel Radio reported that the government had decided to approve the election of the patriarch, after refusing to do so for a year and a half. Church law requires the approval of the local ruling body, in this case Israel, before a patriarch can take up his post. Speaking at a press conference at the patriarchate in the Old City of Jerusalem, Father Gavriel, a spokesman for the patriarchate, said the letter was a forgery, intended to destroy the good relations between the Orthodox Church and the State of Israel.

He said the signature of Irineos was forged and that unlike all official letters from the patriarchate, the one pictured in Ma’ariv had no protocol number. The forgery could have come from elements within the patriarchate, he admitted.

A section of the alleged letter, reproduced in Ma’ariv, was written in English.

“You are finally aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulchre fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus Christ, actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists, Jewish conqueror of the Holy Land of Palestine,” the alleged section read.

Another passage included a promise to set up a joint property management with the Palestinians for the property of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Old City of Jerusalem. The patriarchate owns vast tracts of lands throughout Jerusalem and the issue of the future of that property is of vital interest to both Israel and the Palestinians.

Gavriel asked why the letter had appeared now, a year and half after it had ostensibly been written, immediately after the report that the government would authorize the election.

Commenting on the report, Rabbi David Rosen, international interfaith director of the American Jewish Committee and an adviser to the government on Christian affairs, said rumors about the letter and other allegations that Irineos I was pro-Palestinian had been investigated by the security services, which reported that they were without foundation.

He was cleared by the Shin Bet six months ago, Rosen said, adding that such a report only does damage to Israeli and Jewish interests.

Referring to a part of the Ma’ariv report which said that the government had agreed to approve the election of the patriarch as a result of pressure by building contractors close to the Likud, Rosen said that on the contrary, it was the Israeli business interests which saw Irineos as an obstacle that were spearheading a campaign of disinformation.


#5

Thank you for the updating and correcting some of the facts in the article about Bp Irineos. Unfortunately the only things I know about him are all non-positive - not because of the subject of this article but other things.

I myself took a dislike to Bp. Sabbah when I read some of his statements, things I have seen since affirmed that opinion. Then when the Vatican sent a Hebrew speaking priest to minister to Hebrew speaking people in the area, I said to myself, someone has notified the Vatican that all is not well here.


#6

Also, while Erinaios is a bishop, his proper title is Patriarch.


#7

[quote=HagiaSophia]Thank you for the updating and correcting some of the facts in the article about Bp Irineos. Unfortunately the only things I know about him are all non-positive - not because of the subject of this article but other things.
[/quote]

Well, it’s no secret that Patriarch Eirinaios does not suffer from excessive humility but there’s no need to slander him with false accusations. Not you of course, I mean the tabloid journalist. How could he publish his article just two days ago when the whole matter of the forged letter was put to bed two years ago?


#8

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Well, it’s no secret that Patriarch Eirinaios does not suffer from excessive humility but there’s no need to slander him with false accusations. Not you of course, I mean the tabloid journalist. How could he publish his article just two days ago when the whole matter of the forged letter was put to bed two years ago?
[/quote]

Father trying to explain anyone who writes for the media is a task which I cannot undertake - I have no answer for it. Some I think just don’t get proper information, we have seen that on this very board. They think they know what they know, they will not even consider, that it may be outdated, may be incorrect, or have other dimensions.

I am pleased that I posted it however, so that you were able to correct it, thus if anyone sees it again, or hears it again, we are able to have a reference point for the challenge.

I do have a question however; the Pope is the bishop of Rome, he is also Patriarch of the West - yet it is perfectly correct for us to refer to him as “bishop” just as we call many cardinals bishop - (since cardinal is an honorifc title) as the RC’s consider being a bishop the fullness of the priesthood. Is this not so with the Orthodox?


#9

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Well, it’s no secret that Patriarch Eirinaios does not suffer from excessive humility
[/quote]

Well done! :o


#10

[quote=HagiaSophia]I do have a question however; the Pope is the bishop of Rome, he is also Patriarch of the West - yet it is perfectly correct for us to refer to him as “bishop” just as we call many cardinals bishop - (since cardinal is an honorifc title) as the RC’s consider being a bishop the fullness of the priesthood. Is this not so with the Orthodox?
[/quote]

I have to say that I have never heard Catholics refer to Bishop Wojtyla. It’s always Pope John Paul. And I never heard Bishop Montini, but always Pope Paul.

Orthodox Patriarchs are always called Patriarch, although their historic titles may contain mention of a bishopric…

So the Patriarch of Jerusalem is…

Eirinaios, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan river, Cana of Galilee & Holy Zion

The Patriarch of Serbia, the holiest and humblest and most beloved of all living Patriarchs is…

Pavle, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovtzy and Serbian Patriarch


#11

[quote=Fr Ambrose]I have to say that I have never heard Catholics refer to Bishop Wojtyla. It’s always Pope John Paul. And I never heard Bishop Montini, but always Pope Paul.

Orthodox Patriarchs are always called Patriarch, although their historic titles may contain mention of a bishopric…

So the Patriarch of Jerusalem is…

Eirinaios, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan river, Cana of Galilee & Holy Zion

The Patriarch of Serbia, the holiest and humblest and most beloved of all living Patriarchs is…

Pavle, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovtzy and Serbian Patriarch


[/quote]


#12

[quote=Fr Ambrose]I have to say that I have never heard Catholics refer to Bishop Wojtyla. It’s always Pope John Paul. And I never heard Bishop Montini, but always Pope Paul.
[/quote]

How extraordinary–In Rome the Popes are called by the people there as Papa Woytyla, Papa Montini - most often news articles or more formal writings will use Pope. But many, many well known Catholic authors and articles will talk about the Bishop of Rome and you are expected to know at once who they mean.

When speaking to a cardinal one would say Eminence, or Cardinal, but it would be perfectly proper when writing to say bishop unless it is a rather formal piece. Same for an archbishop - one would simply write and in the heading would say Archbishop so and so and would start their letter: Excellency or Dear Bishop so and so.

I know nothing of Pavle - got a url where I can find out why he is holiest and most beloved - those are my favorite kind of people - somhow that “pastoral” sense gets through …I actually have never heard of him before.


#13

[quote=HagiaSophia]I know nothing of Pavle - got a url where I can find out why he is holiest and most beloved - those are my favorite kind of people - somhow that “pastoral” sense gets through …I actually have never heard of him before.
[/quote]

I cannot find offhand any article which attempts to convey the spirit of Patriarch Paul, a mix of humility and erudition, great personal ascetism and great pastoral love.

I’ve only met him once. I was a young monk and we visited the seminary in Prizren. It was during the Great Fast and that means lots of prostration during the church services. He gave me a blessing to take care of the brazier in the Altar area which supplied the charcoal for the censing. I was so happy with that, to be close to him in the cathedral while he served.

Then comes the time for a whole number of prostrations during the singing of “God is with us, understand ye nations…” Crash and one side of the church hits the floor with prostrations, while the other side (they were mainly the young seminarians) sing the alternate verse of the Psalm. Then it’s a great prostration for the other side of the church… turn and turn about, and this was causing immense billowings of dust to fill the enormous church. It was choking and blocking the light…

So after the Service, it was Compline, I asked the seminarians: What’s with all that dust in the church? Don’t you ever clean it? They said: We’re not allowed to. Bishop Paul says that everything that is in the church is holy and can’t be thrown out.

… so you can see he is known for his eccentricity too… and there are so many stories like that.

Here are a couple of sites.

A very short biography, but it doesn’t do him justice. It’s the anecdotal stories which make his holiness come alive.
home.att.net/~st.nicholas.indy/html/pavle.htm

A photo account of his recent visit to Australia
russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstucture/pagesen/news04/pavelausphoto.html


#14

kosovo.com/
Patriarch Pavle is no stranger to persecution, a purifying fire which has produced many saints in the church.


#15

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Well, it’s no secret that Patriarch Eirinaios does not suffer from excessive humility but there’s no need to slander him with false accusations. Not you of course, I mean the tabloid journalist. How could he publish his article just two days ago when the whole matter of the forged letter was put to bed two years ago?
[/quote]

Journalism as a whole in the Middle East suffers from one might say is a lack of reasonable objectivity (knowing that total objectivity is an impossibility). The Arab media are perennially quoting from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion even though this is known to be a forgery for close to 100 years now.


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