The Macedonian Tendency: Was the Macedonian Orthodox Church Excluded?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Was the Macedonian Orthodox Church Excluded?

The story below does not say who attended this meeting. Did the Russians go? Did the Serbs and Bulgarians go?

Orthodox Leaders Prepare for Meeting - Yahoo! News


AP Religion Writer

ATHENS, Greece - Leaders of Orthodox churches from Russia to the ancient Christian centers in the Middle East prepared Monday for a rare gathering forced by a crisis in their ranks: The refusal of the Holy Land patriarch to step down even as his authority is shattered by rebel clerics, angry followers and the hair-trigger issue of land rights in Jerusalem.


But the meeting beginning Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey — the ancient spiritual heart of Orthodoxy — has ripples beyond the fate of Patriarch Irineos I and the explosive allegations that his church leased property to Jewish investors in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider their capital.

The clerics must confront a bigger quandary that's been growing for decades: How to balance between Israeli and Palestinian demands and maintain their delicate role as the historical caretakers of Christianity in the Holy Land.

"In this sense, it is an event of significance for the whole Christian world," said Alexander Belopopsky, a spokesman for the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, an inter-religious group that includes the more than a dozen Orthodox churches.

The Orthodox patriarchate in Jerusalem, dominated by Greeks since antiquity, is under pressure from many sides.

There are demands for greater external scrutiny into church finances and its vast land holdings. Israelis worry the church has become too pro-Palestinian. But Orthodox clerics face an undeniable fact: Palestinian Christians are the bulk of their 100,000-member flock and are pressing for more say in church affairs.

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