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08 September 2005, 04:00
New Jerusalem Patriarch Theofilos cites need for restoring Patriarchate's "moral standing"

Newly elected Jerusalem Patriarch Theofilos was featured in two interviews carried by Athens dailies on Sunday, days after he succeeded deposed patriarch Irineos (Eirineos) as the head of the venerable but recently crisis-plagued Orthodox Patriarchate of the Holy Land.

In an interview with the "Eleftherotypia" daily, Theofilos stressed the "need for restoring the Patriarchate's moral standing and credibility, which were injured vis-a-vis the local governments (of the region), the people and all of the parties that one way or another had contact with the Church."Irineos was dethroned by the world's Orthodox Church leaders after months of heightened criticism by members of his Holy Sepulcher Brotherhood, the Holy Land's congregation and non-Orthodox Palestinians for actions or omissions related to the long-term lease of Patriarchate properties in east Jerusalem to Jewish investors.Speaking to the "Vima" daily, Theofilos dismissed any worry of an "arabisation" of the Patriarchate - most of the top clergymen are ethnic Greeks - while taking umbrage, in fact, with the term "arabisation"."The Patriarchate of Jerusalem belongs to all, whether they are Greeks or Arabs. Our flock, comprised of Arab speakers, needs the Patriarchate very much," he stressed.

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