Damianus of Jerusalem

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His Beatitude Damianus of Jerusalem was the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Church of Jerusalem from 1897 to 1931. Patr. Damianus became patriarch during the time that the imperial Russian government was backing the Arab Orthodox clergy of the patriarchate and pressuring the Ottoman government to restrain the Phanar's influence it.

Patr. Damianus, a Greek, was born and educated on the island of Samos. He was the titular metropolitan of Philadelphia (Rabbath Ammon) before he was called to be the patriarch.

Patr. Damianus' predecessor, Patr. Gerasimus, became patriarch after being persuaded to leave the patriarchate of Antioch when Russia objected to the sultan over the candidate, Photius, put forward by the Church of Constantinople. When Patr. Gerasimus died in 1897, the Phanar was able to appoint Metr. Damianus over the Russian sponsored candidate Euthymius, who was the archimandrite of the Holy Sepulchre.

Madaba mosaic map of Jerusalem

Patr. Damianus shared in the interest that the patriarchate of Patr. Gerasimus had in the mosaic map that was discovered earlier in the Church of St. George in Madaba. In 1901, he invited two German artists to create a life-size copy of the mosaic map.

In 1908, as a consequence of the Young Turk Revolution, Patr. Damianus was confronted with ethnic struggles within the Orthodox patriarchate that led to serious deterioration of relations between the local Orthodox Arab community and his Greek patriarchate, a struggle that still exists. The struggle took two perspectives: that between the Patriarch and the Synod and the other between the Arab community and the Hellenists.

The new constitution that followed the Young Turk revolution presented a chance for the Arab Orthodox community to have a greater say in the affairs of the Patriarchate. The proposals took the form of clergy/lay councils that would be deputized by the patriarch. When the request for the councils was submitted to Patr. Damianus, he demurred, but he proposed appointment of a mixed committee that would consider changes to the multi-generational way of doing things in the patriarchate. As progress wained, the tensions increased among the disputants, and the issues escalated to Constantinople.

Relations between the patriarch and the Synod also soured as the Synod found disfavor with Damianus' approach of compromise with the Arab community. In late 1908, the Synod decided to request the patriarch's resignation, which if refused, they were ready to depose him. The letter of deposition, approved by a meeting of the Brotherhood, was drawn up by the Chief Secretary of the Synod, Archimandrite Meletius Metaxakis and delivered by Archim. Keladion. A locum tenens , Archbishop Tiberius, was also elected.

Patr. Damianus was not moved by the Synod's actions. Even after the locum tenens was approved by the Turkish government, Damianus did not resign but applied to the government for an investigation, to which it consented. As the investigation, under the Governor of Syria Nazim Pasha, proceeded the political scene was changing, changes that stymied the Synod. A new Grand Vizer, Hilmi Pasha, came on the scene, the leaders of the movement against Patr. Damianus were asked to go to Constantinople, and the locum tenens died. Finally, the newly elected locum tenens could not get government recognition.

On March 1, 1909, Nazim Pasha announced that the Synod and Brotherhood must recognize Damianus, or he would not be responsible for their safety. The Synod capitulated and recognized Patr. Damianus. On July 25, 1909, the Patriarch of Constantinople followed suit. Patr. Damianus continued as patriarch until his death.

Patr. Damianus reposed on August 14, 1931.

Succession box:
Damianus of Jerusalem
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Philadelphia
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Jerusalem
Succeeded by:
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