Friday, January 07, 2011

Ousted patriarch behind locked doors in Jerusalem


Six years ago he was the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Holy Land. Today, Irineos I claims he is a prisoner in the church's Old City compound in Jerusalem, trapped by the successor who ousted him in a dispute over the sale of church property to Israeli settlers.

Reporters who tried to gain access to the onetime leader of the Holy Land's 100,000 Orthodox followers through the compound's massive metal door were denied entry by church guards peering out through a crack.

Irineos spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday through a wireless microphone hoisted at the end of a rope to his roof — in the same black shopping bag supporters use nightly to deliver him groceries.

"They allow nobody out and nobody in to visit me," said Irineos. "They are afraid of the people because I'm loved by the people, and I love the people," he said into the microphone, peering over the edge of his roof. the rest


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