Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Metropolitan Teophilus Elected Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

The 14 members of the Greek-Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem have unanimously elected 53-year-old bishop Theophilus as the new patriarch. The appointment makes him Metropolitan of Jerusalem and he takes the place of Ireneos I, who was deposed on 24 May by the pan-Orthodox Synod of Constantinople led by Patriarch Bartholomew I. The former patriarch had tried to nullify the meeting of the Synod to name his successor but the judicial court of Jerusalem stopped him from doing so.

Of Greek nationality, the Metropolitan Theophilus has served in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and he was also representative of the Greek-Orthodox Church in Moscow and in Qatar. The secretary-general of the Synod, Archbishop Aristarchos, said: “We endeavoured to elect a patriarch capable of restoring prestige to the patriarchate. Now we feel stronger to face and overcome the crisis and scandal created by Ireneos I”. AsiaNews analysts in Jerusalem say the unanimous vote for Theophilus shows the unity of the Orthodox community with regard to Ireneos I, who now occupies a palace of the patriarchate and refuses to leave.

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