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The Greek Orthodox Patriarch’s Palace


The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is the head bishop of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Patriarch’s official title is “Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion” and is seen as a direct descendant of the chair of St James the Apostle, venerated as first bishop of Jerusalem.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem is considered the “Mother Church” of the Holy Land. The Church celebrates its liturgy in the Byzantine rite according to the Julian Calendar. the vast majority of bishops and many of the monks are thus ethnic Greeks whilst the lower clergy are mostly Arabs. The original language of the liturgy was Greek has been replaced by Arabic

The Patriarch is the head of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre. The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre is the Orthodox monastic fraternity that for centuries has guarded and protected the Christian Holy places in the Holy Land. They are the custodian of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate owns and administers vast land holdings, currently representing one of the largest nongovernmental pools of real estate in the State of Israel.

Greek Patriarchate Jerusalem -
Greek Patriarchate Jerusalem

The Patriarch is the religious leader of about 130,000 Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, most of them Palestinians – in three political sovereignties, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The biggest single group of Holy Land Christians belongs to this Church. However, the political changes of the 20th century in the Middle East have affected the church, and have pushed many of the faithful to emigrate from the Holy Land.


Holy Real Estate

Christian churches transferred significant amounts of capital into Palestine and Syria at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem owns more land than any other church in Palestine and Israel.

The sale of Patriarchate land to Jews featured as one of the prime issues as early as in the first Orthodox Arab Congress in 1923. This conference, a result of a dispute regarding the election of a new bishop in Nazareth, dissatisfaction with the patriarch’s open support for the British Mandate, and dismay with his friendly relations with Zionist leaders and favorable statements issued in regard to the Zionist movement, passed several resolutions to empower the Arab congregation (i.e., “Arabization”).

In 2005, a dispute broke out between the Greek Orthodox community (mostly Arabs) and the Patriarchate (who is Greek) of entering into a multimillion-dollar transaction involving the sale or long-term lease of prime land holdings owned by the Greek Orthodox church near Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem to Jewish investors overseas whose motivation is to “redeem” the land in the Old City.

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Cameling in the holy land since forever
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