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.