The Orthodox Church in the Holy Land has dismissed a Greek Orthodox priest who has called on Christians to join the Israeli army, the Church spokesperson said yesterday.
Father Issa Musleh told AFP: “The Orthodox Church has repeatedly asked the priest of the Jaffa, Nazareth Church, Father Gabriel Naddaf, not to interfere in matters of the Israeli army.
“As a priest, Naddaf cannot work in politics and the Church has repeatedly asked him not to interfere in politics otherwise he would be stripped of his pastoral role because we are a peaceful religion, Naddaf has offended the Orthodox Church and its history,” Musleh said.
Musleh accused Naddaf of “dividing Christians and the church because there are Christians in the West Bank and Jordan and the Palestinians are one people.” He asked: “Does he [Naddaf] want brothers to fight each other?”
Musleh pointed out that the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III “held a meeting for the Holy Synod and decided to strip Naddaf of his role while the ecclesiastical court decided to dismiss him from his duties.”
Naddaf received criticism from the Christian community in Palestine and Jordan for calling young Christians to serve in the Israeli army last year.
He told AFP that he has not received formal notification from the church terminating his duties.
Meanwhile, Musleh noted that Naddaf does not need formal notification because he has been repeatedly warned by the church.