The Jerusalem patriarchs have not determined the timing of the opening of the Church of the Holy sepulchre

© AFP 2018 / Gali TibbonУправляющие the Jerusalem Church of the Holy sepulchre was closed Shrine. 25 Feb 2018The Jerusalem patriarchs have not determined the timing of the opening of the Church of the Holy sepulchre© AFP 2018 / Gali Tibbon

The Jerusalem patriarchs are not appointed for specific terms of opening the Church of the Holy sepulchre, which on Sunday shut its doors to tourists and pilgrims in protest against the plans of the city authorities to levy a municipal tax Church property, said the Archimandrite of the Armenian Church Immanuel (atajanian).

The decision, which the priests themselves, called unprecedented, was jointly adopted the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches, which, forming a «svyatohrobskoho brotherhood», collectively control the greatest relic of Christianity, erected at the place of execution, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

«As the patriarchs today announced that are not the appointed time. On the timing is not yet of speech. Will see how it will continue,» said the priest, responding to a question from Russian journalists.

The Jerusalem authorities demand Christian denominations to start paying Council tax from all of their property except houses of worship, and have already started freezing Bank accounts, putting a penalty over the preceding years. In the mayor’s office has estimated that the total debt of churches in front of city budgets exceed 186 million dollars.

The Church refused to obey the request of the municipality, and interpret his actions as an attempt on the long-term «status quo» that has developed in their relationship with the secular authorities.

«There is a political background or religious, it’s hard to say, but what is happening is wrong and offensive. Throughout history, for example during the Ottoman Empire, the Christian Church in the Holy land in distress and many people lost their property. You can say that he was the strongest. What is happening now, is happening in a period of democratization, freedom of speech, the Internet. It’s ugly, wrong and incorrect in relation to the Church,» said Archimandrite Immanuel.

Secretary of the Russian ecclesiastical mission in Jerusalem hegumen Nikon says that initially from the «svyatohrobskoho brotherhood» received information that the protest will last only one hour, but then it was announced its indefinite nature. «Apparently, until the moment when there will be some positive response from the municipality of Jerusalem,» he said.

The priest expressed hope that a compromise will be able to find in the coming days, and the conflict will extend to Easter, when the Church of the Holy sepulchre attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims for Holy fire. «I think in coming days this issue will be resolved, and public worship will be resumed,» said the father Nikon.

«It is no secret that Jerusalem is the main source of income is by pilgrims and tourists. If they just would insist on, it will create a very bad image of the city, and the following year they just don’t count the millions, maybe billions of shekels in its coffers, if so here will do,» he added.


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