JERUSALEM (AP) - The fate of beleaguered Greek Orthodox Patriarch Irineos I was shrouded in confusion Saturday, with rebel clergy saying he has been fired but supporters insisting he is still in charge.
Irineos returned to his living quarters in Jerusalem's Old City before dawn Saturday, hours after top clergy voted to dismiss him for his alleged role in a controversial property deal.
They allege he was involved in leasing church property to Jewish settlement groups in east Jerusalem, the sector claimed by the Palestinians as a future capital.
However, other clergymen said Friday's decision was not valid.
The patriarch can only be ousted by the 17-member synod, the church's highest decision-making body. The patriarch's supporters said only he can convene the synod, and that Friday's vote among top clergy, including members of the synod, with the patriarch absent.
A church spokesman, Archmandrite Atallah Hannah, said an acting patriarch would be elected next week.
However, another clergyman, Archmandrite Milinios Bassal, said only Jordan's attorney general could decide whether Friday's decision was valid, and that until he has done so, the patriarch remains in charge.