Armenian Christians File Lawsuit Over ‘Fraudulent’ Land Sale in Old Jerusalem

                                                                                                             Feb 28 2024

CV NEWS FEED // The Armenian Christian community in Jerusalem is continuing the fight to regain historic land that was sold in a highly disputed sale that occurred in secret in July 2021.  

According to an AsiaNews report, Armenians in the Holy Land officially filed a lawsuit on February 18, claiming that the land in question was sold against the terms of a 400 year-old waqf fund, which established the land in trust, restricting its use for the sole benefit of the Armenian community. 

The terms of the fund prohibits sale of the land unless it benefits the Armenian community in Jerusalem and has its approval. 

The land is currently being used as a parking lot for the Wailing Wall. 

“By taking the matter to court, the Armenian community is seeking the annulment of the alleged agreement and the protection of the land, with a unity of purpose between the community, patriarchate and Diaspora Armenians,” AsiaNews stated.

The Armenian Apostolic Church is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, they broke up with the Universal church after the Council of Chalcedon (451.) There is also a small number of Armenian Catholics, who constitute one of the Catholic Eastern rites.  

As CatholicVote previously reported, the land in question concerns the Armenian Quarter in Old Jerusalem known as the “Garden of Cows.” 

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a statement in November, declaring that Armenians faced “existential territorial threat,” after foreign developers began construction on the historic land which was allegedly sold under its nose by its then-real estate director and former priest, Khachik Teretzian to a Jewish businessman Danny Rubenstein from Australia. 

The sale effectively leased 8 acres of land in the Armenian quarter to Rubenstein for the period of 98 years, during which Rubenstein’s company, Xana Gardens Ltd had planned to build a luxury hotel. 

“We will fight to the end to ensure that the Armenian quarter remains intact, Armenian, and for the benefit of the people,” the community said in a statement, adding: “These are precisely the principles that have united the global Armenian world—and our allies who understand the value of the unique mosaic that is the ancient city of Jerusalem—to save the Armenian Quarter.”