Byzantine Jerusalem

In an obituary for the late Archbishop of Athens, Christoldoulos, Spero News notes the Jerusalem link:

One of the most serious scandals involved the archbishop’s alleged role in the election of Patriarch Eirinaios of Jerusalem, who was toppled for selling property in Arab East Jerusalem to Israeli interests. A former spiritual child of Christodoulos, Apostolos Vavylis was alleged to have been sent to Jerusalem by Christodoulos and to have played a key role in getting Eirinaios elected. Some press reports labelled Vavylis a Greek intelligence agent and other reports cited older Greek intelligence reports linking him with Israel’s Mossad.

This is a story I’ve been following for some time; as I noted a few months ago, Vavilis was arrested on espionage charges in 2006 after fleeing from Greece to Italy via Thailand “with the help of his Taiwanese friends”. Vavilis, who has an Israeli ex-wife, was seen in Jerusalem in 2001 in the company of a monk named Nikodimos Farmakis, who lost his position as Archimandrite after he was found to have been carrying a gun; Farmakis represented Irineos at the 2002 Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. Vavilis was also implicated various other scandals that engulfed the Greek Orthodox Church in 2005.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Church in Jerusalem is currently trying to show it can match the Orthodox brethren for dissent and intrigue; Religious Intelligence reports:

Charges of fraud and misconduct are being traded between the current and former Anglican Bishops in Jerusalem.

…the civil war between current Bishop Suheil Dawani and former Bishop Riah Abu Al-Assal…adds a further burden to the weakened Anglican presence in the Holy Land.

On Jan 20, Bishop Riah’s office released an “urgent” petition calling for Bishop Suheil to “step down” after he allegedly colluded in the beatings of two Nazareth Anglicans…

Loving every minute of this latter case, naturally, is Irene Lancaster.

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