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Letter to the Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine

It is with great joy that we have received the news yesterday of Your Beatitude's official recognition by the Israeli government. Although fully aware that this civil decision has no influence at all on Your Beatitude's canonical and ecclesial status, we nevertheless consider that it makes it easier to ensure the good governance of the institutions related to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to fulfill Your Beatitude's pastoral duties and mission among the Orthodox faithful of the Holy Church of Jerusalem, and to make visible the Christian presence and common witness in the Holy Land.

18 December 2007

His Beatitude Theophilos III

Patriarch of the Holy City of
Jerusalem and All Palestine

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
of Jerusalem

Your Beatitude,

I extend my deepest spiritual greetings to Your Beatitude in Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is with great joy that we have received the news yesterday of Your Beatitude's official recognition by the Israeli government. Although fully aware that this civil decision has no influence at all on Your Beatitude's canonical and ecclesial status, we nevertheless consider that it makes it easier to ensure the good governance of the institutions related to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to fulfill Your Beatitude's pastoral duties and mission among the Orthodox faithful of the Holy Church of Jerusalem, and to make visible the Christian presence and common witness in the Holy Land.

We cannot but admire Your Beatitude's patience and wisdom with which you have dealt with this delicate issue. As Your Beatitude is aware, the World Council of Churches, together with the wider ecumenical family, always keep the Church of Jerusalem, the Mother Church, in their hearts and prayers. Our efforts to support the Christian presence and witness in the Holy Land and in the whole Middle East region have increased with Your Beatitude's support to the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum, this new initiative launched in Amman last June with the blessing of Your Beatitude and the support of all the heads of churches in Jerusalem. We hope that the efforts of all Churches around the world, and their commitment towards working for a just peace in the Middle East, will very soon bear their fruits so that peace with justice will prevail.

May God grant that Your Beatitude may continue to serve His Holy Church in peace and that He may keep you "safe, honorable, and healthy for many years, rightly teaching the Word of His Truth".

While our eyes are turned to Bethlehem, waiting for the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Joy and Hope, I take this opportunity to wish Your Beatitude a Blessed Period of Advent.

  

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General secretary