Jerusalem, Jan 07 (Agencies): Six years ago, Irineos I was the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem with about 100,000 followers.

Irineos claims he has been imprisoned for three years in his Old City apartment by his successor Theofilos III.

The only way Irineos could speak to reporters was through a wireless microphone. Reporters who tried to gain access to Irineos through the compound's massive metal door were denied entry by church guards peering out through a crack.

Theofilos replaced Irineos in 2005 after allegations he sold church property to Israelis seeking to expand the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim for the capital of a future State.

Palestinians consider sale of land to Jews a serious crime. Most Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem are Palestinians.

Irineos maintains he was unaware of the transactions and did nothing wrong. A report commissioned by the Palestinian Authority in 2005 concluded he didn't participate in any of the sales.

Political feuds inside the Greek Orthodox community have turned vicious in recent years. When Irineos was deposed, his defenders said the land sale charges were trumped up by his political opponents.