Thursday, December 29, 2011

Priest Fight

Every year between December 25th and the Orthodox celebration of Christmas in the first week of January priests clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, believed to have built on the site of Jesus' birth. This year, though, peace and understanding appear to be in short supply, as Palestinian police were forced to storm the church in order to break up a fight between Greek and Armenian Orthodox priests who had been working on cleaning the church.

Several dozen Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests were cleaning the interior of the church Wednesday morning when, according to witnesses, two of them began fighting. The fight quickly escalated, and soon, 50 to 60 priests were exchanging blows with broomsticks.

Bethlehem police were sent in to quell the fighting, Palestinian police Maj. Ahed Hasayen said. "This is an internal problem related to the Nativity church only. The Palestinian police had to interfere to stop the clashes as soon as possible to avoid devastating consequences," he said.

According to tour guide Ghassen Tos, the fight, while intense, was short in duration. “This did not last for long as soon as the Palestinian police interfered and succeeded to halt the clashes immediately,” he said. There were no reports of any serious injuries.

It's unclear from the report what the priests were fighting about. Cleaning house is one of those activities, though, that has a lot of potential for bringing out anger. This is not the first such fight, either - in 2007 priests from the same denominations were involved in a similar altercation. Maybe these two groups should take turns at the necessary cleaning tasks instead of trying to work together in the future.

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3 comments:

Hypnovatos said...

It is an old battle. They each believe that they are the true form of the Orthodox church and thus should be the only ones cleaning it as they are the only ones holy enough to perform the actions. They have a LONG standing agreement on who gets to clean what parts. From time to time, someone will cheat and clean an area that belongs to the other church's area. instant squabble: just add water...broom...sponge. Very religious and pious you see... O.o
At least this is what i always heard on the news when i lived in Greece. This is how they explained it... of course it was always the Armenian's that cleaned OUR area... we would NEVER do that... *Roll Eyes Here*

Morgan Eckstein said...

When I worked in the restaurant business, we used to fight to avoid having to clean stuff up...which makes this behavior look really silly.

V.V.F. said...

This sounds like the perfect subject for an engraving. Somebody call Peter Bruegel.