Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Patriarch Irenaios

Patriarch Irenaios

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Patriarch Irenaios'
Start a new discussion about 'Patriarch Irenaios'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Irenaios Skopelitis was the 140th patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem , also known as the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, is an autocephalous Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity. Headed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, it is regarded by Orthodox Christians as the mother church of all of...

 from 2001 to 2005, though the dismissal was disputed. As Patriarch, he was styled Patriarch Irenaios or Irenaios I.

Irenaios was elected patriarch on 13 August 2001 in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

 and enthroned on 15 September 2001 as "Patriarch of the Holy City
Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is the head bishop of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III...

 of Jerusalem and all Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, beyond the Jordan River, Cana
Cana
In the Christian New Testament, the Gospel of John refers a number of times to a town called Cana of Galilee.-The marriage at Cana:Among Christians and other students of the New Testament, Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public...

 of Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 and Holy Zion
Zion
Zion is a place name often used as a synonym for Jerusalem. The word is first found in Samuel II, 5:7 dating to c.630-540 BCE...

" in the presence of senior church and secular dignitaries, including Archbishop Christodoulos
Christodoulos
Christodoulos was Archbishop of Athens and All Greece and as such the primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, from 1998 until his death, in 2008.- Early life and career :...

 of the Church of Greece
Church of Greece
The Church of Greece , part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 and Metropolitan Nicholas of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church
Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is a self-governing body of the Eastern Orthodox Church that territorially covers the countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia...

.

Biography


Irenaios was born on the island of Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 as Emmanouil Skopelitis, in April 1939, and came to Jerusalem in 1953.

He served for many years as Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

.

Controversy and dismissal


A few years into Irenaios' patriarchate, he was accused of selling several parcels of church-owned land in the Old City of Jerusalem to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i developers.

As most of the Orthodox Christians in the region are Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

, and the land was in an Arab-populated area that most Palestinians hoped would become as a part of a future Palestinian capital, these accusations caused a great deal of concern among Church members. On March 19, 2005, the Palestinian Authority formed a commission to investigate these allegations.

After a thorough investigation by the commission, the commission exonerated Patriarch Ireneos and concluded that the accusations made against him were "A very well calculated plan . . . schemed by a number of clerics opposing Ireneos in collaboration with Israeli Extreme Right Wingers. Their interest converged in the aim of getting rid of Ireneos step by step." The report also concluded that "In accordance with the applicable law in East Jerusalem, Patriarch Ireneos is still the legitimate Patriarch enjoying full powers."

Before the publication of the commission report, some Orthodox Church leaders in Jerusalem announced on May 5, 2005 in a letter that they had broken off contact (some called it boycotting) with Patriarch Irenaios, and regarded him as dismissed as Patriarch of Jerusalem.

The decision reached by the Holy Synod of Jerusalem
Holy Synod of Jerusalem
The Holy Synod of Jerusalem is the senior ruling body of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher.The Synod consists of 18 members nominated by the Patriarch in a session of the Holy Synod itself...

 of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre
Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre
The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, or The Holy Community of the All-Holy Sepulchre, is the Orthodox monastic fraternity that for centuries has guarded and protected the Christian Holy places in the Holy Land...

 was made final on May 6, 2005 by a two-thirds vote of that body. As far as the Church leaders were concerned, Irenaios ceased to be Patriarch from that point. On 24 May 2005 a special pan-Orthodox Conference, was convened in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 (Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

) to review the decisions of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem. The pan-Orthodox Conference under the presidency of the Ecumenical Patriarch voted overwhelmingly to confirm the decision of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher and to strike Irenaios' name from the diptych
Diptych
A diptych di "two" + ptychē "fold") is any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge. Devices of this form were quite popular in the ancient world, wax tablets being coated with wax on inner faces, for recording notes and for measuring time and direction.In Late Antiquity, ivory diptychs with...

s, On 30 May, the Synod of Jerusalem chose Metropolitan Cornelius of Petra
Metropolitan Cornelius
Metropolitan Cornelius of Petra is a senior bishop of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. He was locum tenens of the Church in 2001, following the death of Patriarch Diodoros I...

 to serve as locum tenens pending the election of a replacement for Irenaios.

The Holy Synod of Jerusalem went further. On June 16, 2005 it announced that Irenaios had been demoted
Defrocking
To defrock, unfrock, or laicize ministers or priests is to remove their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry. This may be due to criminal convictions, disciplinary matters, or disagreements over doctrine or dogma...

 to the rank of monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

. This action is now widely viewed as being uncanonical. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has also said the defrocking does not have any validity, and is not recognized by any Orthodox Church. Since then Irenaios has not left his apartment and is de-facto imprisoned there.

Theophilos III was elected as the new Patriarch on 22 August 2005 by the Synod. The election was confirmed by the pan-Orthodox Synod of Istanbul (Constantinople) and he was enthroned on 22 November 2005.

By a longstanding tradition, the dismissal of a Patriarch of Jerusalem and the election of a replacement requires the approval or recognition of the governments in the regions of the Patriarchate's authority - presently, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

. Jordan had recognized the dismissal by June 2005. Ireneos continued to be recognized by Israel as the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem until December 2007, and Israel continued to invite him to official government functions. As of 20 December 2007, the governments of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority and Israel all now recognise Theophilos III as Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

External links