Things may not be what they seem, and here's why.......
"The specter of anti-Semitism has once again raised its repulsive head -- this time in, of all places, Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox Church, the city's largest private landlaord, is entangled in a complicated internal fight, at the core of which is the idea that it not lease land to the Jews. Or, more precisely, that it no longer lease land to the Jews.
"As the dominant Christian sect in the Holy Land, the Greek Church has long had a history of cordial relations with Israel. It has long offered long-term --- and do we mean long-term --- leases to the Jews, including plots on which sit several leading Israeli government buildings. But in March 2005, a battle began over a 198-year-old lease of three large properties adjacent to the Jaffa Gate in the Old City. So what was the problem? The properties in question were considered to be strategically detrimental to the Palestinians' stance in their negotiations for sovereignty in the Old City and East Jerusalem. Ah, the plot thickens.
"The transaction became a cause celebre as agitators whipped up anti-Jewish sentiment in the Palestinian Christian community, and church officials ultimately demoted their then leader, Patriarch Irineos I, to the status of a monk. They then installed a new leader, Patriarch Theophilos III, who, upon his enthronement, pledged not to lease land to the Jews --- the Jaffa Gate properties and, apparently, all other holdings of the church. Indeed, one of Theophilos' first acts as the new Patriarch was to install as a bishop a radical Arab cleric who has expressed appreciation for suicide bombers.
"The beleaguered Irineos, who now shelters in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, argues that his ouster and the election of Theophilos were illegal under civil and canon law. Dueling lawsuits now fill the dockets in Israeli and Jordanian courts.
"The entire situation is more than unseemly --- it is repugnant and dangerous. And it has implications that could go far beyond an internecine battle. It is obvious that some leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church have yet to grasp that anti-Semitism is not only un-Christian, it is also a sin against all Humanity."
Your Dragonmaster certainly agrees with the Daily News Editorial Board on that point. Let it be known, while I'm bearing me soul here, that it is a Wizard's #1 rule to embrace and respect ALL faiths, regardless of their origin. Believe me when I tell you, folks, that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will not be pleased when news of these dire tidings reaches his office in the Phanar in Istanbul!
And when, as you can see in the BBC News link I have cited for you, Bartholomew figures out that it was he himself who approved Irineos' ouster, there will, I suspect, be those in the Greek Orthodox community who might well wonder: "What is wrong with this picture?"
Orthodox vs. Orthodox? Unthinkable! Impossible! And yet it IS happening. Why? And toward what ends? As I say, Mortals, this is one example of a story where on the surface, one would see no more than a petty controversy --- a controversy which, if left unchecked, might have horrifying consequences for every one of us. Clearly, your Dragonmaster will follow this story where events warrant; I sense that this may yet be one of the big news items of 2006! Stay tun'd!