another brawl between monks at Tomb of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
The Associated Press
pickup in Haaretz ("The Land")
(daily English-language newspaper, Israel)
10 November 2008
12 Cheshvan 5769
Israel Time: 17:21 (EST+7)
Once again, monks
come to blows at
Church of Holy Sepulcher
by The Associated Press
Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.
The clash broke out between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
It began as Armenian clergymen marched in an annual procession commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus. It ended with the arrival of dozens of riot policemen who separated the sides, seizing a bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead. Both men were taken away in handcuffs.
Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.
The feud revolves around a demand by the Greek Orthodox to post a monk inside the Edicule - the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus - during the Armenian procession. The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way.
"We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye. The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses.
Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher. He said the Greeks attacked first.
Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, said his monks had not initiated the violence. "I'm sorry that these events happened in front of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the most holy religious monument of Christianity," he said.
After the brawl, the church was crowded with Israeli police holding assault rifles and equipped with riot gear, standing beside Golgotha, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, and the long smooth stone marking the place where tradition holds his body was laid out.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were forced to intervene after fighting was reported. They arrested two monks, one from each side, he said.
The feud is only one of a bewildering array of rivalries among churchmen in the Holy Sepulcher.
The Israeli government has long wanted to build a fire exit in the church, which regularly fills with thousands of pilgrims and has only one main door, but the plan is on hold because the sects cannot agree where the exit will be built. In another example, a ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down. More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse.
Control of the ancient church is divided between six Christian sects. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.
The fight is part of a growing rivalry over religious rights at the church.
On Palm Sunday earlier this year, dozens of Greek and Armenian priests and worshippers exchanged blows at the very site and pummeled police with palm fronds when they tried to break up the brawl.
1. Unworthy fight 14:33 | HS 09/11/08
2. Muslins and Christians, different faces of the same coin. 15:48 | JP 09/11/08
3. christian love 15:53 | jojo 09/11/08
4. unfortunate 15:59 | potobac 09/11/08
5. JP 16:27 | Chaval 09/11/08
6. fighting monks 16:29 | yehuda 09/11/08
7. #5-Chaval - let me see if I understand you right 16:43 | Arie 09/11/08
8. JP: Muslims, Christias, Jews: All the same 16:45 | Giy 09/11/08
9. ashamed to be..... 17:12 | STEVEN 09/11/08
10. eye witness 17:55 | someone 09/11/08
11. #1 Unworthy fight 18:05 | Shoshannah 09/11/08
12. #2 JP 18:38 | Lou Medel 09/11/08
13. EVIDENCE THAT JESUS WAS NO MESSIAH 19:20 | Barry S. Roffman 09/11/08
14. Tisk, Tisk, Tisk... Where is their Christian Love ?? 19:23 | Jew 09/11/08
15. And the difference is? 19:43 | Arie 09/11/08
16. @hs 19:49 | jerrym 09/11/08
17. #JP 19:59 | jerrym 09/11/08
18. Monks in black? Ninja monks! 20:49 | Yacov 09/11/08
19. Yacov in Chicago 21:07 | Palestinian Brit 09/11/08
20. Anyone see the Falasha in the IDF drag away the Armenian Monk? 21:15 | UsedToPostHere 09/11/08
21. re: JP 21:18 | UsedToPostHere 09/11/08
22. JESUSALEN 21:45 | cristian 09/11/08
23. eye witness 22:02 | Benjamina 09/11/08
24. Disgraceful! 22:08 | Maureen Ann 09/11/08
25. Watching the footage on BBC 22:26 | TOMY 09/11/08
26. Someone pass the popcorn 22:51 | Arie 09/11/08
27. #11. Nonsense Shoshanna 23:00 | HS 09/11/08
28. These Christians Really Need a Better Way to Solve This 23:03 | David Rybarczyk 09/11/08
29. Get your facts right 23:09 | Noone 09/11/08
30. who said My Kingdom is NOT of this world? 23:26 | jose 09/11/08
31. Message to all those involved in the fight 23:29 | Peter Williams 09/11/08
32. this is what happens when you don`t have a job 00:16 | don 10/11/08
33. monk beatings 00:48 | andrew 10/11/08
34. Thoughful 00:54 | Humbert 10/11/08
35. to #8 Giy, Hey smart guy 01:14 | JP 10/11/08
36. Job Application 01:15 | Al 10/11/08
37. so they finally see that "showing the other cheek doesn`t work 01:50 | Joey 10/11/08
38. There was - is - a good reason 02:01 | Mark Lincoln 10/11/08
39. Who comes first 02:50 | Tamree 10/11/08
40. What do the Scriptures say? 02:59 | John DeVito 10/11/08
41. These people are not Bible believers 03:02 | Gary M. 10/11/08
42. Disgraceful behaviour in such a holy place 03:26 | Free Gilad Shalit 10/11/08
43. Re: EVIDENCE THAT JESUS WAS NO MESSIAH 03:38 | Dean Heistand 10/11/08
44. Fights at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 04:19 | Linda 10/11/08
45. to JP #5 09:51 | El_Justiciero 10/11/08
46. Jesus was not only the Messiah but is a Fable/Myth 14:54 | JP 10/11/08
47. Jesus was not only the Messiah but is a Fable/Myth 14:55 | JP 10/11/08
48. Security 15:51 | Adam 10/11/08
49. To HS 17:14 | Volonok 10/11/08
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Labels: Tomb Holy Sepulcher Jerusalem