An illustration on the campaign against the Orthodox Church

02-03-2021 04:44 PM

By senator Audeh Quawas.

Dear beloved sons and daughters of the nation
It is obvious that there is a coordinated assault against his Eminence Archbishop Christophoros Atallah, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jordan, as well as against the Council of Heads of Churches of Jordan, via some Christian dissenters from the recognized churches according to the Christian Community Councils Law No. 28 of 2014.

A Brief History:
Christianity is the religion that preceded Islam by about 600 years and emerged from the Canaan’s Palestinian lands. It was one ritual church, same teachings until the year 451 AD where the first schism took place (the Chalcedon Schism). Then the second schism took place in 1054 A.D - the Catholic schism, later the third schism in the year 1521 AD - The Protestant Reformation. I will not go through the causes of schisms as I am not a theologian, but I have written this, so that the non-Christian reader can follow what I will write, so that he can judge the falsehood propagated by some with the aim of attracting and converting Christians from one faith to another.

After the third schism in 1521 AD, which was called the Protestant Reformation, an internal split up took place between this group, and two main groups were formed: Anglican and Evangelical Lutherans. The Evangelical divisions expanded to more than one ecclesiastical name, reaching hundreds if not thousands, out of which the Zionism Christianity, which I do not agree with this designation, but rather I describe them as the Christian Zionists.

The situation in Jordan:
Since the foundation of the state, Jordan has taken care of this multiplicity and in 1938 a law was issued, Law No. 2 of the year 1938 under the name of the Councils of Non-Muslim Religious denominations, which came to supersede the legitimacy of the Councils of Non-Muslim Religious denominations for the year 1933 and The Code of Procedure for Religious Community Councils and its ordainment for the Year 1934. This continued to be enforced until the issuance of the law No. 28 of 2014 in the name of the Christians Denominations Council Act, where the law determines as per a schedule the registered and recognized denominations in Jordan that have the right to practice religious rites and who have the right to establish a church court that is competent only in personal status issues.

It is worth noting here that not all the recognized denominations have church court associations, and the schedule in 1938 was as follows:

1) The Greek Orthodox
2) The Melkite Greek Catholic
3) The Armenian Orthodox
4) The Roman Catholic (Latin)
5) The Protestant Anglican (Anglicanism)
It is also worth nothing that the schedule has been amended in which the number of the recognized denominations have been increased to eleven, and they are as follows:
1) The Greek Orthodox
2) The Melkite Greek Catholic
3) The Armenian Orthodox
4) The Roman Catholic (Latin)
5) The Protestant Anglican (Anglicanism), which later became the Arab Evangelical Episcopal Church
6) The Maronite Catholic
7) The Arab Evangelical Lutheran
8) The Syriac Orthodox
9) The Evangelical Adventist
10) United Pentecostal Church Denomination UPCI
11) The Coptic Orthodox

For your information, this arrangement is of great importance in terms of statico and protocol.

I had to do this preface so that the reader can understand what we are talking about, what the conflict is, and what the mistakes are that have happened over the past years as well as what the pressures are on the Jordanian state, what is the present situation, and what the inaccurate information that is propagated by some.

Several churches have been established in the world, all of which follow the evangelical tradition, but in many and different ways, and among them there are those who claim to be the head of that church and without theological or administrative reference, but with a council or Dean that align in most of them from the Jewish religion. A large number of them are considered from the new Evangelical Zionism, supported by the generous and without borders funding from the Zionist lobby, especially from those who try to penetrate the eastern Christians and encourage them to emigrate, manipulating the opportunity of their living conditions or political instability in addition to violence and security risk in some countries to exploit either the innocent believers who want to serve the society or agents who have special agendas to preach the Christian religion to our Muslims partners in order to shake the stability and security in our homeland and aggravates the religious fanaticism that was not existing before among the members of the society.

It must be pointed out here that all those who claim to be from the reform churches and who seek rights that are not theirs are originally Christians from the officially registered denominations. If you trace their birth and marriage registrations, you will find that they were held in recognized and registered churches in Jordan, but they are demanding their recognition as a church or denomination as a legitimate gain to facilitate foreign funds, facilitate the tax exemptions, and work freely without supervision or follow-up. In Jordan, there are more than thirty groups. Some claim that they have been registered since a long time, yet this is what the real situation is. Yes, some of them are registered, but not as a church or denomination, but as a cultural center or as an association or as a school. They consider that this registration in this capacity and their presence on the scene with a license in a cultural or charitable capacity gives them the right to establish a church.

The main problem is that five groups only out of the thirty groups existing in Jordan formed a coalition amongst them and called themselves Jordanian Evangelical Society who also requested a license in this name. This problem emerged because there is no follow-up or prevention from the government for such coalitions, which gives them the freedom of movement. Knowing that they are not united under one presidency and each church has its independent administration and each church has its own synod, knowing that the head of this coalition is The Very Reverend Habes Naimat. After I have been appointed a member in the Senate and upon his request through a mutual friend, I have met him and discussed with him several topics that I will not address here because they are confidential. But it should be noted that I advised him that he cannot surpass the Arab Episcopal Evangelical Church which is officially registered in Jordan and must coordinate with them for any future action.

Here, I refer back to the topic of the organized attack by the licensed media against His Eminence Bishop Christophoros Atallah, which is controlled and dominated by these groups, including one of my close friends. I do not consider it an attack on his person as much as an attack against the Orthodox doctrine in general, because it is the true faith that opposes all that they believe in. It is the true faith that has maintained its integrity for two thousand years. Archbishop Christophoros, as chairman of the Council of The Heads of Churches of Jordan has neither betrayed nor attacked any Jordanian citizen because of his faith or religion. He did not demand stripping citizens of their rights, as this right is granted by the constitution to all. However, he demanded nothing except the implementation of the law. As for the explanations cited in the article by advocate Taghrid Al-Doghmi, it is out of context and a wrong interpretation of Articles Five and Seven of the aforementioned Christian Community Councils Law, and she must carefully review the articles to see that what she explained is not correct.

All of the aforementioned points are the responsibility of the successive governments. There are ministers who gave a permit and registration through the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice. Last but not least, one of the directors of Civil Status department has recognized the signature of one of the heads of these unregistered and unrecognized churches by adopting his signature on a marriage certificate, and accordingly a family book was issued.

From my point of view, there is no solution at present for this dilemma. A theological dialogue must begin under the umbrella of the Council of Heads of the Churches of Jordan, only if one of the churches members adopt this issue with the approval of the Arab Evangelical Episcopal Church which is the only officially registered church within this faith and under the presidency of the chairman of the Council of The Heads of Churches of Jordan Archbishop Christophoros, as attack and chaos cannot resolve the problem, but rather aggravate it, which will negatively affect the Christian presence in the East, as without its presence and support it will destabilize the national cohesion. So let the wise men work on this issue by going back to the origin because of its integrity and history.

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