The statements issued by the Israeli police, yesterday and today, in regards to the Holy Light Ceremony, are incorrect. They are a complete misrepresentation of the facts and of our clearly stated position.
Attributing the restrictions, imposed by the Police on the Holy Light Ceremony, to the advice of a so-called church-affiliated safety engineer is categorically misguided and false. This engineer was not commissioned or authorised to produce any report on this matter. Furthermore, once these claimed opinion letters came to light, it quickly transpired that this engineer previously stated very different figures regarding safe worship at the Holy Light Ceremony, but he then changed his report upon request from the Israeli Police so that it was brought in line with their restrictions, and thereafter retrospectively re-affirmed previous figures yet again. This, unfortunately, proves a conflict of interest and lack of good faith professionalism on his part, and loss of confidence in his opinions. Such discrepancies and differences cannot serve as an authority on a matter as important as this.
Once the fact of him having produced such a claimed opinion was disclosed, the Patriarchate through it’s legal representatives, sent an official written notification on the 10 April 2023 to the Police rejecting any and all such opinions and any reliance on them.
With this clarified, we again reaffirm our official position through the two statements produced on 09 April and 12 April 2023. We look forward to celebrating the Holy Light Ceremony and the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with faithful worshipers and pilgrims from near and far, as we have safely done so for nearly two millennia.