ASIA/ISRAEL - Church of the Holy Sepulchre shuttered for the third day in a row. Even the Arab League against taxes on ecclesiastical assets

Tuesday, 27 February 2018 middle east   oriental churches   jerusalem   holy places  


Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - Even today, Tuesday, February 27, for the third day in a row, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City remains shuttered in a tax standoff with the city's municipality and in protest of a proposed land expropriation law.
Many groups of faithful – refer local sources to Agenzia Fides - were left to pray in the courtyard outside the church.
The "closure" of the Holy Sepulcher was decided by the leaders of the three ecclesial realities - Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land - who share the management of the Basilica, as a measure of public denunciation against what they consider a "systematic campaign against Churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land, in flagrant violation of the 'Status Quo'", implemented by the Israeli authorities. A campaign that, according to the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem, has reached "unprecedented levels" with the request of the municipality's plan to tax the church's assets around the city.
On Monday, February 26, Saeed Abu Ali, Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League for Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, also condemned the imposition of taxes on ecclesiastical assets ordered by the Israeli authorities, describing it as "yet another aggression against the Palestinian people", put in place to consolidate "the occupation of the Holy City", and which also has the effect of emptying the agreements already signed and the negotiations still ongoing between Israel and the Holy See. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 27/2/2018)