Our beautiful Orthodox Church is meant to be a shelter from the world, a place where the weary find rest, the sorrowing find hope, and the weak find refuge. Here we wish to see the holy side of our existence, to remember that we belong not the world, but to our Father in Heaven who watches over everything that we do. We look to the Church for guidance, and we expect our leaders to be what Christ wishes them to be for us, trusted servants who follow Him in all things, and in all humility care for His flock.
Sadly, though, in this fallen world, there is a dark side to everything. When it comes to the Holy Church, this is a side that the people rarely see. Knowing the trust and hope many put into the Church, even well-meaning leaders justify this secrecy. “We don’t want to scare the people,” they say. “We don’t want to hurt the people.” Or even worse, “It is above them. They wouldn’t understand.” And of course, there is the worst and most pernicious lie of all: “The people just don’t need to know.” Many things are kept secret from the people, and sometimes perhaps it is helpful but other times, it allows these negative secrets to fester and grow.
Remember, that the Church is the people. The people are the Church. Not just the hierarchs or even the priests, but the people themselves. When the people speak, the church must listen. An informed people are an informed church. It is with this in mind that I must share the following information, even though it saddens me to have to do so.
It is a sad fact that, in these modern days, most of the church – the people and the hierarchs included – has very little knowledge of the Holy Canons of the Church. To be truly informed as Orthodox Christians, it is important to read the Holy Canons, and to understand them. Most people don’t want to know, they just want the ship to sail straight and smooth. But when something goes wrong with the Church, the answers are found not only in the Bible, but in the Holy Canons, in the book called The Rudder.
It is true that the Bible is filled with the most important needs for the Christian people, and most Christians know their Bible. But, most Christians know little about the Holy Canons. These are the rules of the Church. They describe how the Church is to be run. Every detail of Orthodox Christian life is delineated in the Holy Canons.
Some people do not consider this to be relevant in today’s Church, even while they still hold closely to the New Testament. However, you must understand that it was Christ Himself who taught the Apostles how to run and care for the Church. Those same Apostles taught the Seventy Disciples, and the Seventy went on to teach those who would be the servants to the people: the Bishops, the Priests, and the Deacons. I say “servants” because that is what the Lord Jesus, told us to be, but many of us servants have taken advantage of this. Many Bishops and Priests lord over the people, as if a ruler, dictator, or king. And these hierarchs that do this hide the Canons from the Church.
When the people are ignorant of the Canons, and the Bishops are no longer following Christ’s directive to serve in all humility, then parts of the Holy Church fall into darkness, and grave sins are perpetrated in the name of our Lord. No one questions because no one understands the truth. All are afraid to question those who are powerful before men, and forget that we must all face the great Judge who watches all.
Please consider the following scenario, which, to the great shame of all who are involved, is currently playing out in our Holy Patriarchate, where the true Patriarch of Jerusalem is kept under house arrest, while an alliance of corrupt and powerful men support the invalid tenancy of an illegally appointed pseudo-Patriarch.
In the Jerusalem Patriarchate, after the Holy Synod - a council of Bishops - elects a new Patriarch, that Patriarch must have the approval of the Israeli Government, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority in order to take the seat. These Governments do not care about the spiritual reasons for electing a Patriarch, or about following the Holy Canons. They care only about the interests of their own government and state. These are not holy or canonical concerns, but rather political and economic ones. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has an influence in the world, one that has to be considered. Therefore, it stands to reason that just because certain governments support an elected Patriarch, does not prove the canonical validity of that Patriarch – only that he fits in with their political and economic objectives. Unfortunately, many people do not see this, and they confuse political support for canonical validity. This is a mistake. Support from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, while helpful and important, does not prove the validity of the election. Yes, it does make it official. But what if the wrong man is supported by all the political entities? Does that make him the correct patriarch according to the Holy Canons, according to God?
What I am about to tell you is exactly that. In 2005, illegally, and against the Holy Apostolic Canons, Bishop Theophilos was put on the most Holy Throne as Patriarch, and the LEGALLY elected Patriarch, Irineaos, was removed from power. Further, at the orders of Theophilos, he is currently living under house arrest. No one is allowed to visit him and he is not allowed to leave. He lives behind locked gates with two Muslim guards patrolling the doors 24 hours a day. It is difficult for him to get food, impossible for him to receive visitors, and many times he goes without basic necessities and medicine. Theophilos has said that he will let Patriarch Irineaos leave, but if he does he will never be allowed to return to the only home he has ever known. And if he does, he surrenders all rights to the home and the Throne where he belongs.
Patriarch Irineaos has lived in the same small cell since he was twelve years old. Under Israeli and Old Testament Law if you have live in the same location for 50 years or more that house becomes yours and you never have to leave, but as with all of the Laws that concern this story, they have been ignored.
The Church has allowed this atrocity to occur, partially out of fear of Theophilos, and partly out of ignorance of the Canons and laws that are being violated. Here is a partial list of these violations, and some of the justifications that have been put forth for them:
The first and most obvious deviation from Canon law is this: that another Patriarch cannot be placed on the Throne, as was done, when there already is a legal Patriarch on the Throne. Theophilos and his cronies have falsely accused Irineaos of illegally selling land, and they have used this as their justification for removing him. However, you cannot depose or excommunicate a Patriarch for illegally selling land, even if that were actually done. A Patriarch can only be deposed for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, or extreme heresy and it must be done before the people. Only then can a Patriarch be deposed. A Patriarch is elected for life.
Patriarch Irineaos was not deposed or excommunicated. He is still Patriarch legally. He was never found guilty of illegal land sales. Actually, he was never charged with any crime. There was never any evidence to support the criminal complaint. Who filed the complaint? His own Synod, of course with promises of great profit. I have proof of all of these things I write. It has taken over a year to put this together, and I am still gathering the information, which I will be sharing on this website. But the bottom line is, our rightful Patriarch suffers in prison while the entire Church watches, doing nothing.
Patriarch Irineaos was removed because he is an honest man. He is a spiritual man and cannot be compromised. I personally know this to be true and may God strike me down if I am lying.
Now, who is this Theophilos who now sits on the Throne where he does not belong? Theophilos was the care-taker of the Holy Sepulchre, and was only a Bishop for a short time before becoming Patriarch. A conspiracy has been in effect since 2001, led by the United States Ambassador to Qatar, Patrick Nicholas Theros, to install Theophilos as Patriarch. This was a business plan to profit by selling HOLY land to the Israelis, and others. George Tenet who is a relative of Theophilos also has been part of this conspiracy. Don’t remember George Tenet? He was the director of the CIA. All of these people are Greek. Theophilos was never elected correctly and IS NOT the Patriarch, but those who are around him have a vested interest in keeping him there. Their interest is purely financial.
Ask yourself this question: Would a good and honest man lock-up the Patriarch as Theophilos has? If you do not believe me, try to get in to see Patriarch Irineaos at the Patriarchal compound in Jerusalem. I challenge you to do this. They will not let you in to see him. I know because I tried; on a visit to the Holy Land in April 2008, I waited outside Irineaos’ door many days and was refused entry every time.
Theophilos has done some very bad things since being in the position of Patriarch. He has kicked monks and nuns out of their monasteries for not supporting him. I personally know of Theophilos throwing out two nuns and an 80 year old monk/priest for not supporting him. The monk slept on the streets until he was let back in to his home. I met the monk that lived in the streets. He was scared to talk to me or to anyone about what he suffered. I left Jerusalem before knowing what happened to the two nuns, but the monk had to sign a letter of support for Theophilos before he could return to his home.
Theophilos is also having a priest removed from his Church in Ramallah for not supporting him and saying that Patriarch Irineaos is the true Patriarch. Theophilos is using the Palestinian Authority police to stop the supporters of Patriarch Irineaos. To use civil authorities like this is against the Holy Canons. The supporters of Patriarch Irineaos supporters who spoke with me in Jerusalem in April 2008 would only speak to me behind closed doors, frightened someone would hear and turn them in. I am not naming these individuals for fear of reprisal, but I have already heard that some of them have suffered persecution since my visit.
Is this any way for a Christian to have to live? How could any Christian act like this? How can the head of the First Church, the Church of St. James, act this way? Should Theophilos be Patriarch? The true Patriarch would never act this way. Theophilos is a usurper of the Throne. Theophilos and his conspirators must be removed so that the true Patriarch of Jerusalem, Irineaos, may resume command.
Patriarch Irineaos is the true Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Synod knows this. Ambassador Theros knows this. George Tenet knows this. The Ecumenical Patriarch knows this and now you know this to be true. Nothing can make Theophilos the true Patriarch, nothing. Jesus is the head of the Church and the Holy Spirit guides the Church. They know that Irineaos is the Patriarch. They made Irineaos the Patriarch, and that truth can be suppressed, but it can never be erased.