The aim of the paper is to elaborate on the Jerusalem Orthodox Patriarchate’s missionary work in late Ottoman times, paying special attention on its incapacity to counteract the activities of its rivals within the religious market of Palestine. In particular, the article addresses the following research questions: What was the extent of the Patriarchate’s missionary activity, and its stance vis-à-vis the work of the other Church missions, i.e. the Roman-Catholic, and Protestant? Was its policy effective; and if not, why? Overall, the article argues that neither the missionary enterprise nor the blocking of the western missions’ conversion activities were at the top of the patriarchal agenda. It is suggested that the causes of this stance were mainly: a) the financial and political disadvantageous position of the institution; b) the centrality of the custodianship of the Holy Places as the primary aim of its function; and c) the development of Greek nationalism as the nodal point of the discourse.