Greek Orthodox Church
Members of the Greek Orthodox clergy take part in the Washing of the Feet ceremony outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 28, 2016, ahead of Orthodox Easter. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem fired the only Palestinian archbishop in the church citing “the latest stances” of his “clear support” to several issues, according to the Middle East Monitor.

The move to sack archbishop Sebastia Attalla Hanna was meant to “blackmail him and put pressure on him and all the Arab clergymen,” his office said in a statement, the publication reported.

“Patriarch Theophilos [III] and his Holy Gathering decided today to stop the salary of archbishop Attalla Hanna,” the office reportedly said, adding that the salaries of other Arab clergymen were also “arbitrarily stopped” by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, the church also reportedly took other “punitive” measures against Arab clergymen, including transfer of archimandrite Christophoros Atallah from his monastery in Jordan to Jerusalem.

Hanna expressed concern over the development and said he expected Theophilos not to take “revengeful decisions.”

“We expected Theophilos to be wiser and more responsible, not to escalate the situation,” Hanna said, adding he intended resolve the issues peacefully. “We expected him to act as a spiritual pope and not to take revengeful decisions far from the spirituality of the church.”

“Currently, we are facing a new stage and new reality. It seems that we are being forced to take a stance that it is impossible to [view anything as] positive from Theophilos. But this will never affect our spiritual, humanitarian and patriotic message.”

Hanna further said Theophilos “should have punished those who call for recruitment in the occupation army or those who sell our endowments and are involved in conspiracies against the Christian existence in the region.”

Hanna also noted that stopping salaries of Arab clergymen “does not scare us or stop our mission and our message will reach him very soon.”