Statement of the Arab Orthodox Youth in Jordan and Palestine and the Orthodox Society

December 2014

On December 15, 2014, the Arab Orthodox Youth learned that the so-called “Holy” Synod of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem decided at its meeting that day under the presidency of His Eminence Theophilos, Archbishop of Tabor and so-called “Patriarch” to punish the Reverend Archimandrite Chrisophoros, abbot and spiritual father of the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring in Dibbeen, with ecclesial dismissal and expulsion from the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher because of his having asked the illegitimate patriarch to apply the canons of the Church in the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

This decision comes after a series of other arbitrary decisions issued against several priests and monks, threatening them in order to silence the voice of truth within them, which is an unprecedented approach in the history of the Church. This has come as a result of the illegitimate Patriarch Theophilos’ violation of the canons in force in the “Mother of Churches”, including his refusal to apply Jordanian law number 27 of the year 1958, his repeated violations of the Canons of the Holy Apostles (numbers 25, 29, 30, 35, 36, 38 and 58), his rejection of the repeated demands by clergy and lay members of the flock to perform his sacerdotal and pastoral duties as patriarch in addition to his many and deliberate abuses against the Arab monks and venerable priests, his many other abuses against the Orthodox Church through disregarding the Apostolic Canons and the canons of the Patriarchate, his unjust campaigns to politicize and Judaize the Church, and his silence about the symbols of corruption within her which have distorted the glorious image of the Church along with her honorable patriotic positions and has caused scandal and division among the members of the same Church and the same nation.

With this statement, we reply to this uncanonical decision issued by an unqualified synod and declare that His Eminence Theophilos, Archbishop of Tabor, is not the legitimate patriarch of the Church of Jerusalem. He is unworthy of trust and neither he nor his synod represents us or represents the Arab Orthodox flock in Jordan and Palestine. The decisions issued by this synod are void and have no connection to the Church and will be combated. From this very moment, we declare his deposition from being spiritual father of the Orthodox Church in Jordan and Palestine after ten years of his ignoring the demands of the Arab flock, his intransigence, his racism and his flagrant violations of Jordanian law pertaining to the Patriarchate. We likewise ask all sincere priests to refrain from commemorating his name as patriarch at divine liturgies and also to refrain from commemorating the names of Bishops Venedectos and Philoumenos, as they are members of this so-called synod and are direct accomplices in this sinister decision, and to replace the name of Theophilos with that of the Ecumenical Patriarch, as historically he is the first among equals.

We declare to everyone, near and far, that the Reverend Father Christophoros, pastor of our only Orthodox monastery in Jordan shall remain in his monastery in dignity and honor no matter what, and shall celebrate the divine liturgy at the appointed times and the services of the Church as usual. No harm will come to him so long as we are his flock, as the flock chooses its pastor.Here we are surprised by the position of the Jordanian government and the Palestinian National Authority which support the unworthy Theophilos who represents a historical colonization of the Orthodox Church with his racist policy against the people of this country. We wonder about the forces that support the so-called Theophilos, push back against the Arab Orthodox cause and flex its muscles against the Arab Orthodox in Jordan and Palestine.

We hold the governments entirely responsible for the eventual results of this ecclesial crisis. As the Arab Orthodox youth in Jordan have submitted to His Majesty King Abdullah bin Hussain a petition containing around ten thousand signatures of Jordanian citizens regarding the Arab Orthodox issue that absolutely supports the position of Father Christophoros, the Arab Orthodox youth appeal to His Hashemite Majesty to intervene immediately and directly to bring justice to the case of Father Christophoros Atallah and the Arab Orthodox flock and to right the injustice and historical slander committed against us by the Greek colonizers.

We ask the patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches in the world to send official delegations to meet with representatives of the Orthodox flock in Jordan and Palestine and to ascertain all the facts with total transparency and impartiality and to provide the prospective recommendations before it is too late.

The Arab Orthodox Youth in Jordan and Palestine and the Orthodox Society
Amman, December 16, 2014