Church of Holy Sepulchre reopens after 3-day protest over taxation


The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem reopened on Wednesday after a three-day protest against the Israeli authorities’ decision to impose taxes on real estate owned by the churches sharing custody of the holy site.

“Today at 4 a.m. [02:00 GMT] the Holy Sepulchre was reopened.

“The life inside the church is back as always with the presence of pilgrims,” the Custody of the Holy Land wrote on Facebook.

The holy site’s doors were closed on Sunday by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Armenian Patriarchate, and the Custody of the Holy Land, which are in charge of the holy site.

The move of three major Christian churches in Israel was a protest against the Jerusalem municipality’s decision to collect taxes on their property, which is not used for worship.

The churches were also protesting against the Israeli bill allowing for expropriation of land, which the churches had sold, in return for compensation to those who had purchased this land.

The Israeli authorities have accounted that the churches’ debt before the municipal budget was $186 million of unpaid taxes, and started freezing their assets.

The access of the pilgrims to the sites where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected, was reinstated after the Israeli authorities had expressed their willingness to engage in talks with the churches concerning the taxation row.

In Tuesday’s statement of the three churches’ leaders, announcing that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre would be reopen, they expressed gratitude to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his “constructive intervention” in their taxation dispute with the authorities. (Sputnik/NAN)


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