It would be a nonsense not to put on this article and the video that has been widely seen in Israel and abroad. One point: God is not Mammon. There are everywhere men of faith – in our Jerusalem and Israeli context, things are in a way in the process of the “pangs of birth” for all sides. Most of the heads of the Churches in this land and region bear something like 6 crosses in their backs and play chess on a 6-dimensional basis that always has been beyond human, also in this region driven to sainthood and drifting by sins. Financial debates and properties affect all the Churches; maybe they are not totally and really at the core or the heart of the question. Whatever suffering, terrible cries and incredible lack of justice of righteousness, this period is definitely unique, challenges all parties in a new and unexpected way. We should walk on knees and all ask for mercy and pave the way to everybody’s dignity and respect. The other Churches are affected in other ways: it is a long way to go, a very long way that cannot be estimated in any currency or dunams; it is the theological estrangement of all to all and each and therefore the needs to be pure as all of the inhabitants of the region.
Every year, as special occasions show, the Israeli media and maybe diversified bodies come to deal with financial and properties issues that are pending between all the Churches of Israel and the State of Israel. The upcoming Great Lent that shall start for the Orthodox on February 18 next could eventually be considered as a sort of “annual deadline”. The media report on matters that do concern at the highest point the Israeli society: it is evident that nobody would really try to remove or take away the properties where the Israeli State has its main offices, ministries, the House of the President or the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. It would be weird. But, somehow, the Churches do not recognize Israel and behave themselves in an opaque way, bluring the image of a State of the Jews; basically the Jews are considered as still being the “deicides” while the Scriptures and the Gospel clearly show the manoeuvre in a time of political occupation and a full mixing-up process betwee nreligion and occupying forces. Somehow, the viability of the State of Israel is fragile, “uncertain” and quite often it is said as by crowds of so-called experts and international politicians of all parties. In 150, who will be there and how? and what for?
For the first time in history, the very first time in the process of Redemption, the Church as the Living Body of the Risen Christ and als oas somehow the “segmented heritage of the Resurrected” has to face the reality of a State of Jews, a State that has been always a part of the prophetic hope of Israel. This cannot be denied, neglected, systematically causing double-minded attitudes, twisted attitudes and relationships. At the moment, the Churches do not recognize Israel. Even the fundamental agreement between Israel and the Vatican is overshadowed by the question of land, income-taxes, properties that would that the fshape of some theological opacity to frankly and openly discuss the existence of the Churches for the Jewushness and Israel as a Jewish State and the existence/revival and mission of Israel to the Churches.
Properties and money are then far more catching than any act of faith. Some time ago the Patriarch of Moscow came to visit the Holy Land and the State of Israel and he also settled a water bill that was incumbent upon the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Jerusalem. By the way the bill was not only relating to the Orthodox but als oto all the denominations that officially serve at the Church of the Resurrection.
We can give numerous examples of such swaying and dazzling around situation. On the other hand, Israel has the hand, the lead and will never surrender or step down. This puts all the parties, all of them, in a huge “chess game party” while the Churches cannot rely upon the true and real assistance of the “sister-Churches”.
It puts the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, and all the clergy in a most rare situation, an historic change and turn. In such a situation, there is definitely a Greek experience over the centuries that maintained the Mother Church in place. We are considered with much suspicion by all, both sides, all parties.
I am often told that it is crazy to stay in such a context. But, each of us belongs to a special generation. In this generation, the development of the context is without precedent. It maybe frightful and a lot of people prefer to ignore it or to avoid dealing with our situation.
There are times and delays. As Saint Luke wrote ”
24 They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24).
It does not mean that in anyway the Church of Faith in the Resurrected will disappear, this is a reality in this country that has to be discovered. The only commandment of love should at least be shown. On the other hand, indeed, we are at a turn in history; it may take decades, even centuries. In the meanwhile, it is just honest not t oquit the ship and to look forward with faith.