Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jerusalem Christians Seek Unity

Here is an interesting report which raises the question that if in fact there is a Holy Spirit, then is there not a much larger purpose than any of us can imagine or limit to a dogma?

This item came to a list-serve called Palestinian Christians as "Holy War in Jerusalem"

September 2010

The election of the Arab Lutheran Bishop of Jerusalem,Bishop Munib Younan, as the President of the Lutheran World Federation brings the number of Christian Patriarchs in Jerusalem to four, One Greek Orthodox, One Armenian Orthodox, One Latin Catholic and One Arab Evangelical.

All Christian Patriarchs believe in the Trinity as the dogma of the Christian Church, yet the Church is divided into three main groups, the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Evangelicals and thirteen different subgroups.

One of the issues which split the institution of the Church into East and West was the relationship of the persons of the trinity to one another, Orthodox believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, Catholics believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, Evangelicals vary between the two.

Jerusalem has always been at the center of this division which is becoming apparent today within its walls. The Christian Half of the city is divided between the thirteen different national entities within the churches. Even though theology divided the church, within Jerusalem politics plays a major role. Russian, Greek, Arab, Copt, Syrian, Armenian, Italian, French, German, Ethiopian and other governments hold to property within the city. Who is in control of the Christian sites is at issue. The split of the Church between the Greeks of the East, the Byzantine Empire, and the Latins of the West, the Roman Empire was political more than theological. National affiliations added to this split as is apparent especially in the Church of the Resurrection.

For the past several years during the Holy Light ceremony at the Church of Resurrection in Jerusalem, the Church Compound and its surroundings, including the ‘Ruum’ Orthodox Patriarchate, was closed for all Christians except those who had acquired special permission. Thus, most indigenous Christians were prevented from performing their prayers at the Church during Easter. This tradition was started during the reign of Ex. Patriarch Erineious I ” in order to provide security for the Patriarch” as the official Israeli Police claims, and has continued during the reign of Patriarch Theoplilos III. The following report gives insights to this case.


This year, the same procedures, if not stricter, were carried out under the pretence that skirmishes will break out between the different Christian clergies, and, of course, to provide personal security for Patriarch Theophilos. Who is the one actually responsible for closing off the Church of Resurrection remains to be unknown?

Is it the Patriarch, who is in control of these shrines within the city, or the Moslems, who have the keys of the Church of Resurrection, or the Jewish police, who enter with their weapons into the Holy of Holies, The Sepulchre of Jesus the Christ? Or is it the community of believers who is too busy to organize these festivities in a Christian manner.

Today we have good reason to believe that the time is ripe to create a ‘Christian Council’ composed of the Clergy and Laity, to consult with all Christian denominations and find an acceptable program for these festivities so that next year, the Christians will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Light united as One Family of God.

I pray that the Gates of the Holy City will remain open for all believers in the God of Abraham.

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

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