Israel's Christians close church in protest

Closure of Jerusalem's holy shrine sparked by land Bill, tax demand

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III speaking at a news conference in front of the closed doors of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III speaking at a news conference in front of the closed doors of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Usually, the various Christian denominations represented in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre are known to engage in eternal brotherly strife. That makes it all the more significant that on Sunday, they managed to cast their numerous differences aside to reach an unprecedented decision.

In protest against Israel's alleged "systematic campaign against the churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land", Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton, and Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian ordered the gates of the world's holiest church shut indefinitely.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'Israel's Christians close church in protest'. Subscribe