Open main menu

OrthodoxWiki β

Church of Jerusalem

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.


The first Apostolic Council was held in ca. 49-52AD and ruled that the Gentiles do not have to become Jews before becoming Christians.

In 70 AD, the Roman Emperor Titus captured and destroyed Jerusalem. The Jewish temple was demolished, and, under difficult conditions, the Christians moved to Pella on the east bank of the Jordan River.

By 135 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a pagan temple over the ruins of Golgotha and covered the Holy Tomb with dirt. A new Roman city was declared and named Aelia Capitolina. Although Christians were then permitted to return to Jerusalem, the Jewish people were not. In the meantime, Christianity spread throughout Palestine; many communities and episcopacies were created under the primacy of the Metropolitan of Caesaria.

By 326 AD, St. Helena visited Jerusalem to rediscover the ruins of the old Jerusalem. During the excavations, she discovered three crosses, and through a miraculous event the True Cross of Christ was discovered. Her son, St. Constantine the Great commissioned the demolition of the Roman buildings and the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Episcopacy

The Holy Synod

  • His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine, Syria, Arabia Beyond the Jordan, Cana of Galilee and Holy Zion
  • His Eminence Cornelios, Metropolitan of Petra and Arabia Petrea
  • His Eminence Ambrose, Metropolitan of Neapolis
  • His Eminence Hesychios, Metropolitan of Capitolias
  • His Eminence Timothy, Metropolitan of Bostra
  • His Eminence Kyriakos, Metropolitan of Nazareth and All Galilee
  • His Eminence Benedict, Metropolitan of Diocaesarea
  • His Eminence Joachim, Metropolitan of Helenopolis


  • His Eminence Theophan, Archbishop of Gerasa
  • His Eminence Alexios, Archbishop of Tiberias
  • His Eminence Dorotheos, Archbishop of Abila
  • His Eminence Damaskinos, Archbishop of Joppa
  • His Eminence Aristarchos, Archbishop of Constantia
  • His Eminence Methodios, Archbishop of Tabor
  • His Eminence Theodosios, Archbishop of Sebastia
  • His Eminence Dimitrios, Archbishop of Lydda
  • His Eminence Macarios, Archbishop of Qatar
  • His Eminence Isidore, Archbishop of Hierapolis
  • His Eminence Philomenos, Archbishop of Pella
  • His Eminence Nectarios, Archbishop of Anthedon
  • His Eminence Christophoros, Archbishop of Kyriakopolis
  • His Eminence Aristobulos, Archbishop of Madaba

Autonomous Archdiocese of Sinai-Faran-Raithu

  • His Eminence Damianos, Archbishop of Sinai-Paran-Raithu

Retired Bishops

  • His Beatitude Irenaios, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Holy places of worship


  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem)
  • St. Sion
  • St. Bethlahem
  • Samaria
  • The lake of Tiberiados
  • Magdala
  • Cana of Galilea
  • The village of the shepards
  • Capernaum
  • Bethsaida
  • The kathisma of the Panagia
  • St. Gethsimani

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