Archbishop Atallah Hanna Reportedly Fired for Anti-Occupation Stance

Archbishop Hanna (R) has long served as a symbol of Palestinian unity. (Photo: Arab Daily News, file)

Palestinian factions have condemned the decision of the Greek Patriarch Theophilos to cut off the salary of Palestinian archbishop Atallah Hanna due to his outspokenness and principled stances on Palestinian rights.

Palestinian factions issued a statement highlighting the continuing support of Hanna and his struggle for Palestinian people along with Archbishop Manuel Musallam and their refusal to enlist Palestinian Christians in the Israelis army.

The Palestinian factions strongly criticized the decision of the Greek Patriarch in Palestine to cut off the salaries of Hanna calling the decision unfair and politicized.

The faction cited the ‘noble’ political positions behind the Patriarch’s decision to cut off Hanna’s salary. The factions warned against this policy, which they said comes in line with the policies of the Israeli occupation, which aims at silencing freedom of speech and dismissing the Palestinian identity.

‘Blackmail’

Earlier, the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem fired the only Palestinian archbishop in the church citing “the latest stances” of his “clear support” to several issues, according to the Middle East Monitor.

The move to sack archbishop Sebastia Atallah Hanna was meant to “blackmail him and put pressure on him and all the Arab clergymen,” his office said in a statement, the publication reported.

“Patriarch Theophilos [III] and his Holy Gathering decided today to stop the salary of archbishop Atallah Hanna,” the office reportedly said, adding that the salaries of other Arab clergymen were also “arbitrarily stopped” by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, the church also reportedly took other “punitive” measures against Arab clergymen, including transfer of archimandrite Christophoros Atallah from his monastery in Jordan to Jerusalem.

Hanna expressed concern over the development and said he expected Theophilos not to take “revengeful decisions.”

“We expected Theophilos to be wiser and more responsible, not to escalate the situation,” Hanna said, adding he intended resolve the issues peacefully. “We expected him to act as a spiritual pope and not to take revengeful decisions far from the spirituality of the church.”

“Currently, we are facing a new stage and new reality. It seems that we are being forced to take a stance that it is impossible to [view anything as] positive from Theophilos. But this will never affect our spiritual, humanitarian and patriotic message.”

Hanna further said Theophilos “should have punished those who call for recruitment in the occupation army or those who sell our endowments and are involved in conspiracies against the Christian existence in the region.”

Hanna also noted that stopping salaries of Arab clergymen “does not scare us or stop our mission and our message will reach him very soon.”

(SAFA, IBT, MEMO, PC)

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2 Comments

    • Shame on the Greek Patriarch Theophilos whose arrogance, greed and unchristian ways towards the Palestinians must be condemned. A religious leader should be kind and show compassion for his flock not conspire and deprive them of their rights. God sees his actions and will deal with him. In the meanwhile those who care for justice must stand out and let the world know about his unchristian deeds. I respect Archbishop Atalla Hanna for exposing the Patriarch, and for his courage and dignity. May the truth rise and set us all free.

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