The Churches in the Holy Land employ a mechanism of representation to vocalise their needs regionally and internationally. For decades, the Patriarch of Jerusalem has fulfilled that role.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the oldest religious institution in the Holy Land, having been continuously present for two millennia. This line of apostolic succession began with James the Just, the brother of Jesus. Successive Patriarchs have preserved the apostolic link to the birth of the Church and the historic life of Christ. His Beatitude Theophilos III is the 141st Patriarch of Jerusalem.
The Patriarch is acknowledged by the governing authorities of his jurisdiction, which includes Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. In addition to this, he heads local ecumenical councils, such as The Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem and the Council of Church Leaders in Jordan. Depicted in the image below, these Heads of Churches voluntarily work and collaborate together.
As vital guardians over the Holy Land's sacred heritage, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the mission of these Churches for 2,000 years through today is to keep the sacred sites open as places of worship to all people indiscriminately. Many of them preside over important ministries, ranging from parishes, seminaries and monasteries to schools, health centres and humanitarian relief for refugees. As a result of this mission, the Churches play a vital role in the promotion of peace, cooperation and the protection of religious freedoms for all people in this diverse region. Globally, the Patriarch is seen as an international ambassador to advocate for the mission and values of these ancient Churches in a fast-changing, modern world.
ICoHS is not under the jurisdiction of any particular denomination. Rather, we seek to serve, support, and strengthen all of the Churches in the Holy Land.
Photo credit: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem