Patriarch Theophilos III of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem has sacked Archbishop of Sebastia Attalla Hanna, a statement issued by the office of the Archbishop said yesterday.
"Patriarch Theophilos and his Holy Gathering decided today to stop the salary of Archbishop Attalla Hanna," the statement said, noting that Hanna is the only Palestinian archbishop in the Greek Orthodox Church.
The statement cited "the latest stances" of the Archbishop Hanna and his "clear support" for many other issues, stressing that this measure aimed to "blackmail him and put pressure on him and all the Arab clergymen."
Meanwhile, the statement noted that the salaries of other Arab clergymen were "arbitrarily stopped" by the Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox in Jerusalem.
In addition, the statement said that the Orthodox Church took several other "punitive" measures against Arab clergymen such as moving Archimandrite Christophoros from his monastery in Jordan to Jerusalem.
"We expected Theophilos to be wiser and more responsible, not to escalate the situation," Hanna said in the statement, noting that he intended to sort out all issues peacefully. "We expected him to act as a spiritual pope and not to take revengeful decisions far from the spirituality of the church."
He continued: "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."
The Archbishop said that 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."
"We received Theophilos' message," he concluded, "cutting salaries does not scare us or stop our mission and our message will reach him very soon."