On Friday, the 15th/28th of November 2014, Mrs. Dora Bakoyiannis, in the framework of a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy in her capacity as Chairperson of the Political Affairs Committee (Subcommittee on the Middle East) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, visited the Patriarchate. She was accompanied by Mr Ioannis Dragasakis, Vice-President of the Parliament, Special Advisor Mr Anastasios Hadjivasileiou, and the Greek Consul-General to Jerusalem, Mr Georgios Zacharoudiakis.

Mrs. Bakoyiannis and her associates were warmly received by H.B. Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Hagiotaphite Fathers.

In the context of the meeting, an interesting discussion took place on the crisis that befell the Patriarchate years ago and which it overcame owing to the help of God, the Greek government and Mrs Bakoyiannis personally.

His Beatitude also explained to Mrs. Bakoyiannis the Patriarchate’s present-day capabilities and the adversities it faces in its efforts to make use of its property, especially in the Abu Tor region of Western Jerusalem and in the land owned by the Monastery of the Prophet Elias, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Reference was also made to the significance of the Holy Shrines and the Patriarchate’s leading role in their safekeeping; also to its efforts to maintain the religious status quo as a framework of peaceful coexistence in Jerusalem.

After the meeting, Mrs. Bakoyiannis went on to venerate at the Holy Sepulcher and the Church of the Resurrection, having asked for divine empowerment in her life and work.

From the Secretariat-General