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Press Office

Athens, 14 January 2022

Statement-appeal by Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy leadership addressed to international institutions and governments: Christians of Jerusalem in danger from extremists

IAO Secretary General and Hellenic Parliament MP Dr Maximos Harakopoulos, and the President of the IAO General Assembly, member of the Russian State Duma Sergei Gavrilov call  upon the international community to condemn  transnational terrorist acts in Israel, which threaten Christians, -regardless of dogma-, to be deported from Jerusalem - as dramatically signalled by Church leaders  in the Holy Land - and to show its solidarity in practice.

The IAO statement of appeal has been sent to the UN Secretary General António Guterres, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, the Prime MInister of Israel Naftali Bennett, King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Heads/Presidents of the European Parliament, the Knesset and the Parliament of Jordan. The appeal has also been sent to the World Council of Churches, and  communicated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Presbyterian Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, the self-governing Orthodox Churches and the Vatican.

The statement-appeal reads as follows:

"The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) expresses its concern and opposition to any attempt to disrupt the property regime of the Old  Patriarchate of Jerusalem situated in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

We express our full solidarity to His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine Theophilus III, as well as the other Churches of Jerusalem,  over their concern regarding the threat of deportation and displacement of the Holy City Christian community.

We believe that illegal and terrorist acts against Christians by extremist parastatal groups in Israel are part of a plan for further expulsion of the Christian element from the Holy Land and the wider Middle East region,  which, moreover, has already shrunk, suffering religious phanaticism and acts of discrimination .

We argue that inviolability of property status in the City of Jerusalem is a key element for consolidating peace in the region.

The IAO calls on the international community to stand by in solidarity to the Patriarchate's of Jerusalem and other Christian Churches' ordeal, caused by extremist parties.

The IAO calls on the Israeli authorities to protect the people of Jerusalem, and of the whole of Israel, regardless of religion, from extremist actions.

Closing, the IAO calls on fellow members of all legislatures of the region to contribute by all appropriate means to secure the property status of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and of other Christian Churches."


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