“What is Church land?” I am constantly asked this question by Israeli and foreign buyers alike when telling them about a beautiful, often expensive, property in the most prestigious neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Many of those who have heard of Church land proclaim “ no Church land!” when listing their criteria for buying an apartment in Jerusalem. Which brings us back to the question – What is Church land?
Church land refers to property on land owned by a number of various Churches who have a physical presence in Israel. These Churches began purchasing land in Israel as early as 100-200 A.D. It is said that sixty percent of Church land in Israel is owned by the Greek Orthodox Church (which interestingly enough only makes up about eight percent of the Christian population in the world).