Church rights under threat

Christian lands in Jerusalem could be confiscated warns UK Church leaders. 

Church leaders from across the UK have rallied around the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, in his campaign against a bill making its way through Israel’s parliament.

The Patriarch has just completed a visit to Britain as part of an international tour focusing on the plight of the Church in the city. Theophilos, regarded as the most senior Christian figure in the Holy Land, has highlighted a proposed Bill of Church Lands, signed by 40 Knesset members, that would allow the Israeli government to confiscate lands leased by Churches to third parties. 

This week he met with Prince Charles as well as government ministers Alistair Burt and Rory Stewart alongside other parliamentarians and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. UK Christian leaders have backed the Patriarch. Coptic Archbishop Angaelos of London said: ‘Property rights and religious freedom are at the bedrock of any democracy. The proposed bill curtails both.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols  and a Free Churches Moderator and a President of Churches Together in England, Hugh Osgood, have said: ‘This proposal represents an intolerable infringement of the Status Quo and the legitimate rights of the Churches and should be recognised for what it is: an attack on the property rights of the Christian community. We urge religious and political leaders in the United Kingdom and around the world to join us in speaking out against this threat to religious freedom, which would set a dangerous precedent for other faiths in the Holy Land.’

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “I believe that a continued Christian presence in the Holy Land is of paramount importance.”

Comments are closed.