The problem surrounding the water bill for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was finally settled; the Israeli government wrote off its water debts for the last 7 years. On Wednesday, an MP spokesman reported that the MP helped with the process leading to this solution. Recently, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias discussed the dispute with Israeli leader Shimon Peres during his visit to Israel. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most important churches in the world, and the Jerusalem authorities never presented a bill for the water used in the church. A special commission will now consider the debts prior to 2005, whilst the Jerusalem Patriarchate will enjoy payment relief beginning from 2013. On Wednesday, Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said that The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem wouldn’t close, but it’d have to pay for its water supply. He pointed up that the Church hasn’t paid for water since its foundation, but bills started to arrive when a private company took over the water supply of the city. The Hagihon water company claims that it still has about 2.4 million dollars (76.2 milllion Roubles. 1.9 million Euros. 1.5 million UK Pounds) in unpaid bills for the past 40 years. Tradition has it that the church was built on the site of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified.
14 November 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
On Friday, one could hear applause and welcoming shouts at the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, as hundreds of people from different religions gathered to welcome the Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, who’s making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Onlookers saw hierarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Franciscans, members of the Armenian and Coptic Churches, and many others. Jews, who were hurrying to round up routine daily business before the beginning of Shabbat, also showed friendly curiosity.
Patriarch Kirill arrived at the main shrine of all Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The loud strikes of the staves of the Church’s guards of honour announced his path along the streets of the Old City. Theophilos Giannopoulos, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, greeted Kirill warmly. In his speech, His Holiness said that he’d come to pray at the holy sites… especially, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre… “for the peace of the whole world, for the prosperity of the Churches, and for the salvation of all and everyone. Certainly, every Christian wishes to go to the Holy Land at least once, to walk along Via Dolorosa, to venerate the stone upon which Jesus’ body was placed”.
Kirill emphasised that a special feature of his pilgrimage was that he’d pray in the name of the entire MP. He brought up that the MP’s canonical territory embraces, apart from the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and a number of other countries, saying, “The situation in the Holy Land is far from quiet or stable today, and we’ll especially ask in our prayers for the descent of peace and concord amongst people onto the land where Christ’s Great Victory came into being”. The six-day itinerary of his visit to the Holy Land includes dozens of places related to the life of Jesus Christ and Christian saints.
10 November 2012 (MSK)
Voice of Russia World Service
One of the Cabinet sent me this:
Sadly, I think that one of the reasons for this is that the Greek clergy from Jerusalem were buying villas in Athens. It’s been going on for decades…
In short, the owners of the private waterworks in Jerusalem saw that there were some flush clergy in the Holy Sepulchre and decided to snag some of the swag for themselves. It’s still not right… but one can see how the Greek clergy incited the businessmen’s greed (always an easy thing to do). It does explain why the Israeli government‘s doing nothing. There are factions that want to restrict Christians, and greedy clergy simply gave them an excuse (in this case, to do nothing, which harms the Church at large). My remarks on deregulation stand… if the municipality were still in control of the water, this wouldn’t have happened. However… the Israelis probably would’ve come up with other ways to make life “interesting” for the more sticky-fingered members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (which is what this brouhaha’s all about, I’ll wager).