Palestinian Authority, Jordan withdraw recognition of Jerusalem's Armenian patriarch over property deals

Palestinian Authority, Jordan withdraw recognition of Jerusalem's Armenian patriarch over property deals
Nourhan Manougian was accused of undertaking decisions relating to real estate in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter without consulting relevant authorities, thus "seriously impacting" the nature of the area.
3 min read
12 May, 2023
Nourhan Manougian (second from right) began serving as the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem in January 2013 [Getty]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan have said that they will withdraw their recognition of Jerusalem’s Armenian Orthodox Church Patriarch, Jordan's state news agency reported on Thursday.

In a joint statement, they declared that Patriarch Nourhan Manougian is no longer recognised on the grounds that he "mishandl[ed] culturally and historically significant Christian properties in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter," the Petra news agency reported.

The decision was prompted by Manougian’s involvement in real estate, with many of his actions reportedly undertaken without prior consultation with relevant parties.

It came after a recent deal concerning a garden in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter, known as Hadiqat Al-Baqar (The Garden of Cows) and its surroundings, including the landmark Qishla building in Bab al-Khalil.

Jordan and the Palestinian Authority also said that the Patriarch also failed to deliberate with the general body of the Mar Jacobs Fraternity, a Syriac Orthodox Church institution, as required by local laws and regulations.

Such choices could "seriously impact" the future of the Armenian Quarter in the Old City of East Jerusalem, the statement stressed. The whole of East Jerusalem is currently occupied by Israel and subject to Israeli attempts to take over property and change the demographics of the area.

As the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Manougian is responsible for the Christian properties in the Palestinian territories and Jordan.

The Petra news agency said the decision was made in "accordance with the directives" of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The statement said that many attempts were made to discuss the property deals with Manougian but to no avail, with the Patriarch reportedly "ignoring" appeals from relevant Armenian institutions.

Manougian reportedly did not heed calls to stop any changes that could affect the legal and historical status quo of these properties.

Both Jordan and the Palestinian Authority affirmed that the Armenian Quarter, as an integral part of the Old City of occupied east Jerusalem, was subject to several United Nations Security Council and National Assembly resolutions protecting its status.

The actions of the Patriarch were a violation of such resolutions put in place to preserve east Jerusalem’s status quo and the Old City’s Armenian heritage, the PA and Jordan said.

Live Story

Aleppo-born Manougian has served for 10 years as Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, after being elected in January 2013. He was the 97th Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The Armenian Quarter is one of four sectors within the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, and is home to most of the occupied city’s Palestinian-Armenian community who number between 2000 and 3000 roughly.

Armenians in Jerusalem, like many Palestinian Christians and Muslims, are often targeted by far-right Israeli extremists who subject them to harassment and violence.