Friday, 2 November 2012 / Al-Akhbar – Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox patriarch Theophilis III has threatened to close the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to protest Israel’s freezing of the patriarchate’s bank accounts.
The patriarchate has owed the city’s municipality $2.3 million shekels since it sidestepped a centuries’ old payment exemption on places of worship and started billing the church for water.
The patriarchate is now unable to pay priests’ wages, Archbishop Atallah Hanna told Al-Mayadeen, who enumerated several Israeli violations of the patriarchate’s rights, including building the Knesset on church property. He said the church’s struggle against Jerusalem municipality was part and parcel of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli dispossession.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the most revered site in Christianity because it is said to be the site of Christ’s crucifixion.