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HEAR YE, HEAR YE, HEAR THIS CALL FOR THE RE-ARABIZATION OF THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM
© John S. Romanides
Every Christian, every Biblical scholar and every historian knows that Jesus Christ was given human birth by a Jewish woman and was raised and grew up within the Hebrew tradition and became the leader of 12 Hebrew apostles who made up the first Leaders of the Church of Jerusalem. Most of their followers and adherents were also Jews. The first leader of the Church of Jerusalem after the resurrection of Christ and Pentecost was called the "brother of the Lord" (Adelphotheos). Saint Paul, the Jew and indeed a Roman also,[ 1 ] wrote his epistles in Greek and travelled to Greek speaking Jewish communities converting both Jews and Romans to Christ etc. So what in the world does re-Arabization of the Church of Palestine mean within such a context?
Apart from these facts, the real historical context of the indeed amazing speech herein published below is the fact that since the time of Constantine the Great Christianity within the Roman Empire covered almost the whole of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. This Emperor initiated a process whereby Orthodox Christianity began becoming a state religion. Thus the Church of Rome became the Chief Patriarchat of the Empire with Constantinople New Rome was to become equal to Old Rome in honour, followed by the Patriachats of Alexandria, Antioch and finally Jerusalem. Being integral parts of the Roman Empire these Patriachats remained so until the one of Old Rome was captured by the Franks. Finally the Roman Popes subject to their Frankish masters were replaced by Germanic Popes under the guise that they were more saintly while the Roman clergy was supposed to be corrupt, exactly what Dr. Madanat is doing by calling the monastic brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher corrupt.
It was the British and the French occupying Egypt, Palestine and Syria which promoted the local replacement of the name Roman for the Orthodox population of the middle East with the name Greek according to Charlemagne's dogma that the East Romans are not Romans, but Greeks. What he and his Franks did not know was the fact that the primitive Romans were indeed a collection of Greek speaking tribes as is clear from studies to be found on website Romanity.org. This policy of the French, British and Russians affected the Patriachats of Egypt, Jerusalem and Antioch, but not the Patriarchat of Constantinople New Rome protected by Ottoman custom. In reality primitive Alba Longa, [ 2 ] which was finally absorbed into Rome herself, had been established and was made up of Greek speaking Pelasians, Arcadians, Lacedemonians and Trojans, etc. together with the historical fact that the Roman Empire was never replaced by a Byzantine Empire which never existed. All this may be found on website romanity.org.
The first very important Arab in Roman history was the Roman Emperor Philip the Arabian (A.D. 244-249).[ 3 ] His army was defeated by that of his successor Emperor Decius (c. A.D. 201-251). Emperor Philip and his son, also named Philip, were executed. This emperor Decius began the persecution of Christians. This historical fact means that Roman Arabs were eligible to become Roman Emperors. So there is no contraction to being at the same time Roman and Arab. However, the problem arose when the Arabs became Moslems while the Romans had became Christians.
However, the Arabs we are now dealing with today came into the Roman Empire not only as conquerors of Palestine which they completed with the battle at the Yarmuk river in 635, but also with a Koran which finally became for them uncreated, making dialogue impossible in reality. This Arab conquest began in the Middle East, including Palestine itself, and quickly spread to all of North Africa and Spain. However, since these Arabs were already Moslems they were not at all interested in becoming Orthodox Roman Christians, Patriarchs, bishops and clergy of the Synod of the Patriarchat of the Church of Jerusalem. They were much more interested in converting Romans to Islam. Besides, Moslems daring to convert to Christianity were usually confronted by the death penalty. Unless of course things have changed so drastically that it has become secretly fashionable for Arabs to convert to Christianity. Within the above context the lecture which follows is amazing indeed, viz. a call for the Re-Arabization of the Church of Jerusalem.
The Roman Empire was called Romania and her citizens were called Romans. The Ottoman Turks called the European part of their Empire Roumeli, land of the Romans, and Romania in Greek and European languages. The mailing address of the first governor of Greece, when liberated from the Ottoman Empire, was Napoli di Romania in contrast to Napoli di Italia. The Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire were called Roman Orthodox, or Rum Orthodox in Turkish and Arabic. This is what they are still called in Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, including Palestine and Jerusalem. Some time ago a group of these Arab speaking Orthodox began calling themselves Arabs. Why? First of all because of the many Russian schools which were established by the Russian Empire to convert Romans into Arabs as part of the Franco-Russian plan to dissolve what has left of the Roman Empire still preserved within the Ottoman Empire.
Roman practise when settling new tribes within the Empire was to give them temporary Latin names like servus and vulgaris. So the British, French and Russian plans for the Balkanisation of Romania was to use such temporary Latin names which resulted in the Balkan mess of today. Serbia and Bulgaria resulted from such origins while modern Greece was founded on Charlemagne's lie that the East Romans cannot be Romans because they spoke Greek, not knowing that the primitive Romans were a collection of Greek speaking tribes. Only Albania [ 4 ] and Romania were left with Roman names because they speak Latinized languages according to Charlemagne's dogma that the East Romans are not real Romans since they supposedly changed their language from Latin to Greek. So only Rumania and Albania kept their contact with primitive Roman names.
Of some interest may be the fact that there is much more similarity between Jews and the Orthodox Patristic tradition in a unique and crucial area of doctrine, whereas there is a sharp difference in this same single area between the Orthodox Patristic tradition and that of the Augustinian tradition of both the Papal and Protestant traditions. The crux of both the Orthodox and Jewish traditions is the appearance of the Angel of the Lord to Moses in the burning bush saying, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.[ 5 ]" For both the Jewish and the Orthodox Christian tradition this Angel is uncreated, whereas for the Augustinian Catholic and Protestant tradition this Angel is brought by God into existence to be seen and heard by Moses and was passed back into non-existence once its mission was accomplished.[ 6 ] These words spoken by this Angel to Moses are attributed to Christ Himself because He the incarnated Logos of God the Father.
The insistent round house claim in the following lecture that the "Greek" Patriarchat of Jerusalem is corrupt is indeed amazing. This is exactly the tactic used by the Franks when they replaced Roman Popes with Germanic Popes.
Speech of Dr. George Madanat the International Chairman of the Jerusalem Task Force .
What is the Next Step?
Your Grace, Reverend Clergy, Brothers and Sisters in Christ: First, I wish to express my love and my appreciation to all of you for participating in the conference; especially our beloved Bishop JOSEPH, beloved clergy and our beloved brothers and sisters who came from abroad to add their input to ours and to share their thoughts on the issues we are going to deliberate with us. Once again and on behalf of the Task Force I wish to express my love and gratitude to the Montreal Chapter for making this conference possible.
The Task Force embarked, since its inception in September 1994, on a clear mission to support the awakening movement of the Arab orthodox Christians in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the purpose of changing a corrupt and a non-canonical system.
From the beginning, the Task Force demonstrated that the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher policies and practices throughout its infamous history were detrimental to the life and the apostolic mission of the Church of Jerusalem. As much as they are in obvious violation of our Lord's teachings and our holy Church's canons and traditions. The in deference of the ecumenical throne and the world's Orthodox Christian leadership towards this most unprecedented problem can also be considered a compromise of the same teachings, canons and traditions. It subordinates what is good for the church to autocephaly. The notion that the founding of the "Brotherhood" and the Hellenization of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem were undertaken so as to protect the Church and the Holy Shrines from the dangers of the advancing Muslim Turkish Armies in the Sixteenth Century, is false and contrary to historic evidence.
The cardinal objective of the Brotherhood was never the propagation of the faith, the feeding of the faithful or the benefit of any Church. Rather, it was for the feeding of itself, the self appointed hierarchy of heretics and thieves. Over four and a half centuries this anomalous phenomenon in our Church utilised everything in its disposition so as to sustain the dual purpose of domination of the Holy Shrines and Hellenization of the Patriarchate. During all this time the Brotherhood demonstrated without any shadow of doubt that it would never contemplate any concession that would compromise these dual objectives. It is ready to sacrifice the Church herself for it's malicious purpose.
Before I proceed to discuss what should be the next step in dealing with this most challenging problem, I wish to reiterate my emphasis on the heretic nature of the secret organisation of the " Brotherhood of the holy Sepulcher". I say this without ambiguity; the purpose of Christ's coming and his passion is not ambiguous nor is the plan of establishing his Church. This is the salvation of our souls. Anything that undermines the work of God for our salvation through words, deeds, teachings or practices in inherently heretic.
The Brotherhood's heresy has utilised all its resources in its quest to hinder Christ's work of salvation through his Church. Can anyone imagine how much the apostolic mission of the Church of Jerusalem would have been served if all the manpower and the resources that have been wasted to prove and to dedicate Hellenic supremacy over the Church were instead utilised for the preservation of Her unity and the propagation of Her evangelical mission for the glory of God? Therefore the heresy of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher with its focus on the holiness of the dead stones instead of feeding the living stones of the Church is in fact the most subtle and in the meantime the most dangerous heresy the Church has ever encountered. Silently, it has put the Church of Jerusalem, the Mother Church on the verge of extinction.
Since its inception, the Task Force has created and maintained continuous lines of communication and fostered forums of dialogue, such as this Conference, with almost all Orthodox Christian organisations in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The purpose is to establish a common appreciation of the problems that face us and to develop a shared strategy in dealing with them. The most important element in the next step of our common mission is to rise and stand up to the level of the monumental historic responsibility that is laid on our shoulders to liberate the Church of Jerusalem. This is the most dangerous as well as the most difficult phase in our struggle. It is the most dangerous because we are destined to face the powers of darkness that the fearsome Brotherhood represents. It is the most difficult because we have to navigate meticulously among mind fields of illusion, deception and propaganda that are not only created by the Brotherhood but also by our own brothers whom we dearly love and desperately need on our side. It is also difficult because we have to face ourselves. In dealing with a daunting problem such as this one, we must remember that every struggle for freedom or justice requires specific ingredients for success such as vision, courage, self-denial and bountiful sacrifice.
On the organisational level we need committed leadership that is from the people and for the cause. Critical thinking must guide our strategy and we must learn from our experience and our past mistakes remembering always that time is not on our side. Our unity must be preserved at all times. Shattering it is one of the prime objectives of the adversary. Our weakness is a critical source of strength for the Brotherhood. Past experience reveals that when the Brotherhood represented by the Patriarch vehemently opposes or tries to undermine a specific project or a specific plan, and then we must understand that this project or plan represents a real threat to the Brotherhood's interest. For example: the demands to establish a functioning Mixed Council, the rebirth of the Arab Orthodox Church idea or the popular and democratic election of local church councils. Liberating-Arabization of the Church of Jerusalem are synonymous words because we cannot achieve the first without establishing the second. The rebirth of the Arab Orthodox Church represents a threat to the Brotherhood because it reunites the Church. It also renders the Arab Clergy immune from the retribution of the Patriarch. It eliminates the fallacy of the Church of Jerusalem as a Greek legacy. It will strip the usurpers of the Church of Jerusalem from Episcopal legitimacy.
It creates the like of "Church in exile" with a powerful claim over the Patriarchate. Logic dictates that if the liberation of the Church is the only way to preserve and rejuvenate her and if we cannot possibly achieve this in one step, then let us start by promoting our spiritual independence through the liberation of the local churches from the bondage of their captors one by one.
We now have at our disposition all the ways and means to achieve this objective especially in the largest Orthodox Christian concentrations such as in Nazareth, Beit Sahur, Beit Jala and in Amman. The presence of Arab Orthodox priests who are from the community, the fact that the local congregation legally owns the Church and the Church property in some local areas and the presence of democratically elected church councils will undoubtedly facilitate our spiritual independence a great deal. The Arab priests although they are none vocal against the system at present time, they are nonetheless very much aware of the problems that face our church. Their support can be forthcoming if they are protected from the danger of the ruthless retribution of the Patriarch and if their financial needs and the livelihood of their families are guaranteed. The canonical protection of the priests can be arranged without many difficulties. The financial aspect of our spiritual independence from the Patriarchate is not necessarily expensively prohibitive. The priests' stipends are very modest and the churches are free from mortgages or any other financial encumbrances. At this critical phase, we must always remember that the liberation of the Church must be kept as the focus of our attention. The beautification of churches, building new ones and the establishment of new schools though necessary they however must not distract our attention from the main objective.
Our spiritual independence in the local churches is the only way that lead us to Jerusalem Ecclesiastical precedence reveals that the faithful who strife to free themselves from the corrupt or heretic leaders can shepherd themselves so as to save the church to the point that they can elect their own bishops. Waiting for the usurpers of the Church of Jerusalem to change themselves is a waste of time because it will never happen. The protracted struggle since 1870 has yet to bear fruits. Begging the hierarchs in the Church of Jerusalem to cooperate with the faithful did not work in the past, it will not work now either. It is just like asking a pack of wolves to cooperate with the flock or to be merciful to the sheep. Recently the Task Force had a private meeting with a ranking politician from the Middle East, and after being acquainted with the problems his amazing response was: what are you waiting for? What is preventing you from taking over the local churches and to proclaim your spiritual independence? We will protect you and we will support you in this endeavour. Diodoros and the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher will never give us a green light to do this. After one hundred and twenty five years of futile work that did nothing to protect the Church and to preserve our existence in the Holy Land, it is our historical responsibility to look for other alternatives. Without spiritual independence from the Patriarchate, strengthening the Arab Orthodox communities will not free the Church. It will only make us stronger captives.
Dr. George Madanat, International chairman of the Task Force
The Spiritual Father of this movement is the Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Hazim who was indoctrinated into these positions by his Russian professors at the Theological School of St. Sergius, Paris.[ 1 ] Acts 22, 27:23,27. [ 2 ] Whose largest tribe was that of the Juli which produced Julius Caesar. [ 3 ] See pages 87 sqq., 131, 165 sq. THE CAMBRIDGE ANCIENT HISTORY, VOLUME IXX, THE IMPERIAL CRISIS AND RECOVERY A.D. 193-324. [ 4 ] In reality primitive Albanians were a collection of Greek speaking tribes which had migrated from Arcadia and Lacedaemonia in Southern Greece and Troy. Their capital was Alba Longa and they called themselves Albanians. It was from this town that the twin bothers Romulus and Remus set out and founded Rome. Not having enough women themselves they ended up stealing women from the Sabines who originated from Lacedaemonia in Southern Greece. see website romanity.org. [ 5 ] Exodus 3, 6. [ 6 ] See website romanity.org for Augustine's texts.