Greek Catholic Patriarch Maxmimos Hakim said in Beirut last week that the Vatican had not yet reached a decision on whether to demand the release of Archbishop Hilarion Capucci of Jerusalem, who was jailed on December 9 by an Israeli court for gun-running.
The Patriarch was speaking to reporters on his return from the Vatican, where he had raised the subject of the 12-year sentence passed on Archbishop Capucci with Vatican leaders.
Replying to questions, he said: "The Vatican and official circles have not yet taken a decision, since an appeal is possible within a 45-day period."
Patriarch Hakim added that the Vatican was interested in sounding out the views of Archbishop Capucci on the . _
matter, "particularly as he has attirmea on several occasions that he prefers imprisonment to leaving Palestine before victory is achieved."
The Patriarch said the Vatican had instructed the Papal Nuncio in Israel to seek Archbishop Capucci's views and a bishop was also being delegated to leave Beirut for Israel on a similar mission.
The Greek Catholic Patriarch added that he would visit Egypt and Syria soon in connection with Archbishop Capucci's case.
Meanwhile heads of Jordanian Christian communities have appealed to the Vatican and to other religious organisations, including the World Council of Churches in Geneva, as well as the United Nations, to intervene immediately and stop the inhuman treatment accorded to Archbishop Capucci.