Jerusalem Patriarch of the Orthodox Church

Much of the Middle East falls under the territory of this Patriarchate. (N. Africa is all under the Patriarch of Alexandria.) But interestingly enough the Patriarch and the bishops are all Greek, even today. Atallah Mansour in his "Narrow Gate Churches" ascribes the rather severe numerical decline of Orthodoxy in the Holy Land to the fact of Greek hegemony. The word Roum in the following paragraph means Greek as in the Byzantine Empire which was still the Holy Roman Empire, it does not mean Roman as in Latin or Italian. Roman Catholics here are called Latin Christians. Greek Catholics (Melkites) are simply called Catholic. Eastern Orthodox are called Orthodox or Roum:

Even in Arabic, most publications call that church Roum-Orthodox despite the fact that over 99% of their church members in the Holy Land call themselves Arab, speak Arabic as a mother tongue and fail to understand their church leaders rituals in the Greek language. The Greek clergy insist the church is Greek and the church's assets belong to Greek nationals--thus they refuse to appoint Arabs to membership in the Holy Sepulchre Fraternity since this might force them to share with Arab natives the church's material assets. Many faithful Orthodox Christians voted against the Greek clergy's hegemony with their feet by joining other churches.

Narrow Gate Churches by Atallah Mansour
p. 204-05

While I have a great deal of respect for Orthodoxy from a theological point the pastoral care (if one can call it that) that they provide for their flock is truly disastrous. It is hard, given these circumstances, for me to feel sorry for the Orthodox even though they are historically the original church through much of the region.

And since we're on the topic, here is an example of Orthodox chant in Arabic:


Steve Scott said…
I wasn't aware that the Greeks had such wide influence in the Eastern church.
Abu Daoud said…
Yes, they own it. Literally. I mean they OWN almost every last part of it and have gone to GREAT lengths to preserve their rights.
Rob said…
Well, there are many parts of the Church that they don't own: The Russian Church is the largest and definitely does not kowtow to the Greeks! The Romanian Church is pretty strong (in comparison to the rest of Eastern Europe). But in the Middle East, yeah, the Greeks are pretty much in charge from what I hear. In North Africa the Coptic church is very independent.
Abu Daoud said…

Sorry, I was talking about Israel/Palestine/Jordan which is the area that Mansour was writing about.

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