Friday, March 25, 2005
Archimandrite Hanna: Death Threats Won't Change My Stance
Written by George Rishmawi-IMEMC & Agencies, Thursday, 24 March 2005
Archimandrite Atallah Hanna, spokesperson of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem stated on Wednesday that he does not pay a lot of attention to the death threats he has been receiving saying this won't force him to change his stance concerning the Greek Patriarch Irineos the first.
The Archimandrite received death threats by unknown people asking him to cease his criticism to the deal.
Some unconfirmed reports stated that he has been under surveillance by intelligence of a foreign country; however he refused to file a complaint at the Israeli police station on this issue.
Archimandrite Hanna called on the Patriarch to resign following the alleged sales deal of some Palestinian sections and areas in the old city of Jerusalem to Jewish investors.
The Greek Patriarch is accused of selling a wide area in the old city of Jerusalem to Jewish investors. The patriarch, speaking through a translator, told a news conference Thursday that only the church's synod had the authority to sell property.
Irineos said he was not involved in any sale and had no knowledge of such a transaction. "Nobody came and claimed property ownership, and even if somebody claims he bought it ... it needs the approval of the Holy Synod," he said. "Even the patriarch himself cannot sell it."
The sale was reportedly made by Nikos Papadimas, a financial officer of the church who disappeared three months ago. Patriarch Irineos said Papadimas had the authority to lease, but not to sell land, however he did not indicate whether Papadimas had authority to sign long-term leases.
However, Archimandrite Hanna held the Patriarch Irineos the first responsible for selling Palestinian church property.
Hanna stressed that the Patriarch should be subjected to investigation and questioning for "his shameful deed" remarking that he is not against the Greek people, but he said, "Those who illegally sell church property should be questioned."
On the other hand, Archimandrite Hanna praised the stance of the Palestinian Legislative Council to rescind their recognition of the Patriarch and to reinforce the Arab nature of the Orthodox Church in Palestine.
The PLC regarded the deal as illegal and demanded the government of Greece to work on canceling the deal.
The Orthodox Church has been long controlled by the Greek Authorities. Arab priests are not allowed to occupy high positions in the church by forcing them to get married in as a pre-requisite to become a priest. The Orthodox Church's law prohibits married priests to occupy high ranks in chuch.