Plot to kill Jerusalem patriarch?

The top Greek Orthodox official in Jerusalem yesterday denied that an attempt had been made on his life after a Palestinian member of his flock said he had taken money from a senior bishop to assassinate Patriarch Irenaios. «His Holiness was never aware of any suspicious moves against him,» the Jerusalem Patriarchate’s office in Athens said in a statement. The statement said an Arab suspected of having committed a string of offenses told Palestinian authorities he had been paid «by a person serving at the Patriarchate» to kill Irenaios. Reports mentioned the name of Timotheos, Bishop of Vostra, who, speaking to Greece’s Antenna TV yesterday, said he had nothing against Irenaios. Elected in August 2001, Irenaios is on bad terms with both Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Tel Aviv refuses to recognize the patriarch, claiming he is too close to the Palestinians, who accuse him of plotting with the Israelis to marginalize his Arab flock. Foreign Minister George Papandreou said he had «no particular comment on the matter, as there are some legal and judicial aspects that have not yet been clarified.»