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Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Church of Jerusalem
Founder(s) The Apostles
Autocephaly/Autonomy declared Traditional
Autocephaly/Autonomy recognized 451 by Fourth Ecumenical Council
Current primate Patr. Theophilus
Headquarters Jerusalem, Israel
Primary territory Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States (except Kuwait)
Possessions abroad United States, South America
Liturgical language(s) Greek, English, Arabic
Musical tradition Byzantine Chant
Calendar Julian
Population estimate 130,000
Official website Church of Jerusalem

The Church of Jerusalem is the "Mother of all Churches" of all of Christendom, because it was in Jerusalem that the Church was established on the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus Christ. From Jerusalem the gospel of Christ was spread to the world.

As Christianity spread, and the persecutions of the Jews by Roman authorities in their homeland increased, causing the dispersion of many of the Christians from Jerusalem, the import of this church and its impact on the ongoing life of the whole Church diminished. As other churches gained ascendency, namely the Churches of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, the Church of Jerusalem was accorded a place of honor with them among the five original Christian patriarchates of the Christian world, called the Pentarchy.

The Church of Jerusalem remains the custodian of many of the holy sites in Jerusalem and environs, sometimes jointly with Roman Catholic or Coptic or Armenian Christians, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Lately there has been criticism of the church leadership by Palestinian faithful, who accuse the Greek-speaking and largely Greek-born leadership of squandering their money and treating their Arabic-speaking members as second-class faithful.

Following the deposition of Patriarch Irenaios I amidst scandals regarding the transfer of land to Jewish control, the Holy Synod of the church named as their temporary primate His Eminence Metropolitan Cornelius (Rodousakis) of Petra. On August 22, 2005, the Holy Synod unanimously elected the former Archbishop of Tabor, Theophilus, as the 141st Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Places of importance


  1. The Holy Lavra of St. Savas the Hegiasmenos (Mar Saba)
  2. The Monastery of St. George the Hozevitou (location)
  3. The Monastery of St. Martha and Mary (Bethany)
  4. The Monastery of The Holy Archangels (Andromedos)
  5. The Monastery of St. Eythymios the Great (Khan-Ahmar)

There are 25 monasteries within the city of Jerusalem:

  1. The Holy Monastery of Abraam, a dependency of the Holy Sepulchre
  2. The Holy Monastery of St. Haralampus
  3. The Holy Monastery of the Forerunner
  4. The Holy Monastery of the Archangels
  5. The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas
  6. The Holy Monastery of Ss. Theodore
  7. The Holy Monastery of St. George the Jew
  8. The Holy Monastery of St. George of the hospital
  9. The Holy Monastery of St. Basil
  10. The Holy Monastery of St. Katherine
  11. The Holy Monastery of St. Spyridon
  12. The Holy Monastery of St. Nikodemus
  13. The Holy Monastery of the Praetorium
  14. The Holy Monastery of St. Anne, the Mother of the Theotokos
  15. The Holy Monastery of St. Symeon of Katamonas
  16. The Holy Monastery of the Holy Cross
  17. The Holy Monastery of St. Onouphrious
  18. The Holy Monastery of St. Sion, also the Patriarchal Theological college
  19. The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen
  20. The Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon
  21. The Holy Monastery of the Resurrection
  22. The Holy Monastery of St. Modestos
  23. The Holy Monastery of the Great Panagia (female)
  24. The Holy Monastery of St. Euthymios (female)
  25. The Holy Monastery of Panagia "Seidanagias"

There are two churches in Jerusalem, the Church of St. Demetrios and the Church of St. Thekla. There is also the cathedral church of St. James the Brother of the Lord, which also has two chapels dedicated to the Myrrh-bearers and the Forty Holy Martyrs of Jerusalem. The chapel of the Forty Holy Martyrs holds the relics of all the patriarchs of Jerusalem.

Saints and Elders

The Holy Land has been primarily sanctified by the presence of Christ, however, through his divine economy, the Holy Land has also generated a cloud of Martyrs, Hierarchs and Saints. Some of these include:

See also

External links

Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Orthodoxy
Autocephalous Churches
Four Ancient Patriarchates: Constantinople | Alexandria | Antioch | Jerusalem
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The * designates a church whose autocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.