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The Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Not long after his election, however, Irenaios was accused of questionable real estate deals involving church property and of acting in an authoritarian manner. On May 5, 2005, 14 of the 18 members of the Holy Synod denounced Irenaios and declared that they would no longer recognize his official acts. As the situation grew more serious, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople called a meeting of all the heads of the Orthodox Churches in Istanbul on May 23-25. Eight of the eleven churches represented (the churches of Antioch, Georgia and Poland abstained) voted to withdraw recognition of Irenaios as Patriarch, and to remove his name from the dyptics. On May 30 the Jerusalem Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Cornelius of Petra as caretaker to replace Irenaios. On August 22, 2005, Metropolitan Theophilos of Tabor was elected Patriarch. He was recognized by Jordan and the Palestinian Authority soon after his election, and was enthroned on November 22. But the Israeli government withheld recognition of the new Patriarch until December 2007.

The Jerusalem Patriarchate had a small presence in the United States in the 1920s. Much more recently it received a number of more conservative Greek Orthodox communities under its jurisdiction. In 2002 the Jerusalem Holy Synod established an epitropia (representation) in the United States, headed by Archbishop Damaskinos of Jaffa. At that time there were two monasteries and 15 parishes in this jurisdiction which was based in East Setauket, New York. In 2003, the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in the United States, which had accused the Jerusalem group of proselytizing among its faithful, directed its clergy not to concelebrate with American Jerusalem clergy. In 2008 the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem reached an agreement that brought these communities under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America within a new Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA.

Location: Israel, Jordan and areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority
Head: Patriarch Theophilos III (born 1952, elected 2005)
Title: The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
Residence: Jerusalem
Membership: 130,000

Last Modified: 28 May 2009

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