After Christian leaders in Jerusalem came together to announce the closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jordan announced its support for the move protesting against Israeli taxes on churches.
People gather around Church of the Holy Sepuclhre Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
On Monday, Jordan announced its support for the recent closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, located in Jerusalem’s Old City. According to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa, the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper said on Sunday that Jordan accused Israel of targeting the churches in Jerusalem.
Yesterday, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III announced that the holy site will remain closed until further notice due to the municipality’s plan to collect property tax from church-owned properties not in use as a house of prayer. Additionally, the decision is a response to the Knesset bill that seeks to allow the state to seize properties sold by churches since 2010 while providing compensation to the owners.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II is the legal custodian of the holy Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem due to a 2013 agreement. Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani has expressed his country’s full support and solidarity with the decision.
Churches in Jerusalem are uniting together to oppose the imposed tax reform against churches. In a statement, Theophilos III, Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton and Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian said, “We, the Heads of Churches in charge of the Holy Sepulchre and the Status Quo governing the various Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem…are following with great concern the systematic campaign against the Churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land, in flagrant violation of the existing Status Quo.”