The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 9

which was most recently enforced by the Ottoman Status Quo
laws, still in place today.
Herein lies an interesting connection to Constantinople.
During the Ottoman reign between 1517 and 1917, the
Patriarchate of Jerusalem enjoyed a preferential status in the
Empire as a result of its significance in the Holy Land. Greek
Orthodox Christians were classified as a semi-autonomous
monolithic group, "millet-i-rum," which allowed them to preserve their authority, continue to own lands, and buy more
property. In the meantime, the Church's spiritual center was in
Constantinople, the capital of the Empire, giving Christians in
the Holy Land the advantage of understanding Ottoman ways.
They also stood apart from the regime's negative disposition
toward new-coming European powers or institutions.
The Ottoman Empire fell, as did many Empires before and
after it. But the Orthodox Church remained.
In Jerusalem, the Patriarchate has not suffered from as flagrant persecution as its sister Church in Constantinople has in
recent generations. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem, although its
constituents continue to dwindle in number and priests and monasteries are frequent victims of extremist violence, stands firm
and grand in the city, safeguarding the land where Jesus Christ
once lived, died and resurrected.
"All roads do not anymore lead to Rome nor to Constantinople,"
says Dr. John Tleel, an author and Rum Orthodox Christian of
Arab and Greek decent with deep generational roots in the Holy
City. "All roads lead to Jerusalem."
As the second largest landowner after the State of Israel,
the Patriarchate has not only historic leverage but political and
financial leverage as well. Its positions on topics such as the status of Jerusalem, holy sites and regional peace do not stay close
to home but resonate around the world, echoing from the land
where divine providence once took its course.
The question of the status of Jerusalem, an enduring concern
in the international community, has also been an obstacle in
recent peace talks due to Israel's unmovable view that Jerusalem
"is and will remain the capital of the State of Israel, undivided,
under exclusive Israeli sovereignty," according to its Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.
The problem with this position is that Jerusalem is the world's
religious capital. Most of the land is significant to more than one
group of people who all claim to have religious and historical
rights over not only the city, but to particular sites.
"The Holy Land is home to the three monotheistic faiths
and their believers, but in fact it is the true home of every
person of good will, for here humanity encountered God in
a special way and this land is the source of both light and
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refreshment for weary souls,"
says Patriarch Theophilos.
According to the Church,
since a particular holy shrine
often carries significant meaning for more than one religion,
various peoples may make
claims on the sacredness of
their holy places but should
not have exclusive rights or
Patriarch Theophilos.
ownership of the place.
Another problem arises in
the language used in Israel's official position on Jerusalem,
which states that, "The Arab world views Jerusalem as one,
albeit not the most significant, of their holy places," which disregards the more than two-millennia history with which Christians
in historical Palestine and the surrounding region have deeply
identified themselves, long before the establishment of Islam.
The ancient Church of Jerusalem, which is inextricably
bound to the Holy Land, must by definition be a key to any
future peace and reconciliation in the region.
Prayer, while hopeful as it pertains to unity, is one part of the
equation for peace in this complex land.
According to King Abdullah, the government of Jordan continues to have its say over the frozen but not ceased negotiations
between the Israelis and Palestinians, and can already see its
results, while several other issues are expected to be resolved
too, such as the Jerusalem question. He says that they would
like the Churches to look at Jordan as an open door for positive
response and the royal Hashemite family as their supporter.
With the Jordanian government as one of the authorities that
gives official recognition to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the
Patriarchate as the institution that gives validity to the Hashemite
Kingdom's claims over its own holy places in the Holy Land, this
statement is no small matter in the issue of peace negotiations.
"This Apostolic Pilgrimage to Jerusalem between Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis was not so much historic as it was imperative. This visit needed to set a precedent,"
says Theodore Pritsis, a Greek-American theologian and volunteer at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. "With this in mind, the only
appropriate host for such an initiative is the Mother of all
Churches, the Church of Jerusalem, which offers validity to all
other Christian Churches through the mysteries of the Incarnation
and Resurrection of the God-Man Jesus Christ."
Anna Koulouris is a journalist and speechwriter for the Greek Orthodox
Patriarchate of Jerusalem. She is a graduate of Syracuse University.

Summer 2014 ยท THE AHEPAN

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The AHEPAN - Summer 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The AHEPAN - Summer 2014

President's Message
AHEPA Family News
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Its Key Role in Peace and Unity Talks
AHEPA Family Holds Successful Annual Excursion to Greece
Honoring America's Fallen Heroes
Civic Responsibility
Athletics
Periclean
Housing
AHEPA Family Chapter News
Best PRactices
In Memoriam
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 1
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 2
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 3
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - President's Message
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - AHEPA Family News
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 6
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 7
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - The Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Its Key Role in Peace and Unity Talks
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 9
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - AHEPA Family Holds Successful Annual Excursion to Greece
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 11
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 12
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 13
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - Honoring America's Fallen Heroes
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 15
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - Civic Responsibility
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 17
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - Athletics
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 19
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - Periclean
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 21
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - Housing
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 23
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 24
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 25
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - AHEPA Family Chapter News
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - Best PRactices
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 28
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 29
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 30
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 31
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 32
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 33
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - In Memoriam
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 35
The AHEPAN - Summer 2014 - 36
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