We have previously seen fights between monks at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The video below, however, shows monks going Medieval at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity — taking brooms and sticks to each other in the ongoing dispute of who has rights to the holy ground. The response of the Palestinian police chief is rather interesting.
With the Orthodox Christmas approaching on January 7th, tensions flared between Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests who went all Sharks and Jets when they found themselves cleaning the 1,700 year old church at the same time. Brooms flew and police were called.
Usually, when two groups (we will not call them gangs) attack each other with weapons, there are arrests. However, Bethlehem police Lt-Col Khaled al-Tamimi shrugged and said that it is a “trivial problem that… occurs every year” and added that “no one was arrested because all those involved were men of God.” Now, that is an interesting exemption from the criminal code. If you commit battery in the name of the Lord, you are exempt. It brings a new meaning to the colloquial term “cleaner.”
The interesting aspect of the feud is that the actual church is falling apart around them because the different sects cannot agree on who should pay for its upkeep. It appears that Jesus was not referring to brooms when he said “Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)
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