Jordan waves in ‘new era’ at Patriarchate

Eight days after Theophilos was voted in as the new Jerusalem patriarch, he received yesterday his first official backing from one of the three governments with authority over the Patriarchate as Jordan welcomed his election. On a visit to Amman, Theophilos and his entourage met with Prince Ghazi, a representative of King Abdallah, and Interior Minister Awni Yerfas, who welcomed his tenure as head of the Patriarchate. Prince Ghazi said the election of Theophilos ushered in a «new era at the Orthodox Patriarchate» and had put an end to a «period of mismanagement and corruption.» Jordan, along with the Palestinian Authority, led the way in ousting the former patriarch after allegations that he had allowed Jewish groups to sign long-term leases for prime properties in Jerusalem’s Old City which belonged to the Patriarchate. The deal angered Arab Orthodox Christians. The Jordanians yesterday called on Theophilos to intensify efforts to cancel the leases for the properties, which are currently occupied by Arab businesses. Theophilos, who was enthroned on Saturday, will have to tread a fine line though for fear of upsetting Israel.

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