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Jerusalem Patriarch thanks Jordan for support during church closure protest

by Cara Bentley

The Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, one of the biggest tourist attractions of the area, closed last month for three days as several church denominations decided they wanted to make a stand against a land law and tax coming in that would affect church property. 

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, was in support of the closure and has thanked King Abdullah of Jordan for the support he provided to the Christian community at this time. 

He wrote in a letter: "Your steadfastness, both personally and through Your Majesty's government, is highly appreciated and we pledge our continued commitment to peace, reconciliation, and co-existence in our beloved Holy Land and throughout the Middle East."

The closure was intended to put pressure on Israeli authorities and was supported by Palestinian and Jordanian governments.

The letter goes on: "On our behalf, on behalf of the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem and on behalf of the Council of Churches in Jordan, as well as Our clergy, our faithful and the many thousands of pilgrims who visit this region every year, We wish to express to You our gratitude for the help and support that You have given to us in the recent crisis that faced the Christian community of our region,"

The church is now open again after the longest closure since 1990.

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