JERUSALEM — The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has informed its faithful about the severe restrictions imposed this year by the Israeli Police during the Easter Holiday.

“On April 11, 2022, the representatives of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem met with the responsible authorities of the Police who informed about the decision that this year only 1000 attendees would be allowed to enter the Holy Sepulcher Church, of which only 200 would be Armenians to participate the Holy Fire ceremony. Patriarchate’s representatives expressed their deep concern and disagreement to this unfair arrangement and the meeting was dispersed after a long discussion,“ the Patriarchate said in a statement.

It is a known fact, as the Status Quo of the Holy Places describes, that the Armenian Apostolic Church has exceptional rights during the Holy Fire ceremony.

To start the day of Holy Fire celebration, the door of the Holy Sepulcher Church is opened by the Armenian Church by right, giving opportunity to hundreds of Armenian and non-Armenian pilgrims to attend and witness the opening ceremony. And with a second procession, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, joined with hundreds of pilgrims, proceeds to the Holy Sepulcher Church to make a solemn entry. Then an Armenian clergyman joins the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem and the two enter the Tomb of Christ to bring out the Holy Fire, symbolizing the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Armenian Church for centuries has practiced these rights without any restrictions or limitations during each Government that ruled the area. Therefore, with this statement the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem expresses its disagreement and protests against Israeli Police for imposing such restrictions. The Patriarchate demands that the Holy Fire ceremony be celebrated similar to previous years without limiting the number of faithful attendees,” the Patriarchate said.

“The Israeli Government on international level took in charge to secure the freedom of religious activities and performances without restraint. Therefore, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem hopes and expects that the Israeli Police would respect and follow its undertaking,” the statement reads.

 

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