Palestinian Archbishop Atallah Hanna Fired from his Post in Jerusalem
BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer
Palestinian Archbishop Sebastia Atallah Hanna has been reportedly fired from his post in Jerusalem by the Greek Patriarch Theophilos. The decision to fire Hanna because of his outspoken stances on Palestinian rights has been strongly criticized by Christian and Muslim Palestinians, as well as the Arab American community.
The Greek Orthodox Church has cut off Hanna’s salary, citing “the latest stances” of his “clear support” as the motives behind the decision. In a recent statement, Hanna 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.”
The reasons have been left vague by the Greek Orthodox Church, but Palestinian factions said that it was Hanna’s recent disapproval of Palestinian Christians serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as his “latest stance” that caused an issue for the church.
In his statement, Hanna urged Theophilos not to take “revengeful decisions” and to try to resolve the issue peacefully.
“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 also noted that stopping the salaries of Arab clergymen would not scare them or stop their mission.
The Greek Orthodox Church is attempting to silence Hanna in a way similar to the recent American and Israeli policies that attempt to punish or blacklist critics of Israel. Hanna was the only Palestinian archbishop in the Greek Orthodox Church. Other Arab clergymen were also cut off from their salaries or received “punitive” punishments for similar reasons.