Jerusalem, February 5, 2021
Sadly, Israeli extremist attacks on churches and mosques in Jerusalem are on the rise, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem said in a statement today condemning the recent attack on a Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
An Israeli settler was caught on surveillance camera “carrying out an assault” on a Romanian parish in the neighborhood of Musrara on Tuesday, reports Wafa, with reference to local sources.
In the footage, he can be seen smashing the lock on one of the church gates and a surveillance camera.
The attack was also strongly condemned by Ramzi Khoury, Chairman of the Higher Presidential Commission for Church Affairs, who said attacks occur because “hardcore Israeli settlers” are granted impunity for such actions.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s attack also pointed to the authorities’ tolerance of such terrorist acts, which only fuels the conflict in the Holy City.
Pat. Theophilos called upon the international community to intervene to help put a stop to the terrorist attacks on churches and clergy, the hateful graffiti on churches and mosques, and “their hideous attempts to control Church properties as evident by the attempts of Israeli radical groups to take over Orthodox Church properties in Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate… using twisted methods and through corrupt deals filled with bribery, extortion and illegitimate pressure.”
The Patriarchate has been engulfed in legal battles for more than 15 years to protect its properties from being sold to a right-wing Jewish NGO.
His Beatitude stressed that he and the entire Patriarchate stand beside His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel and the entire Romanian Orthodox Church and fully support them in facing this terrorist attack “that reflects the extent of the Israeli extremists’ hatred for the Christian religion in general, and the Orthodox Church in particular.”
Recall that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem broke Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Romania a decade ago after the latter built a church and hostel in Jericho without the former’s blessing, though, thankfully, the issue was worked out and communion was restored two years later in 2013.