Monks brawl at Bethlehem basilica
December 28, 2011
An ugly brawl broke out between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic monks at the basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem on December 28.
Police were called in to separate the angry monks. No major injuries were reported.
Jurisdiction over the basilica--built on the site where Jesus was born--is shared by Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Roman Catholic priests, in an uneasy arrangement, in which parties jealously guard their own prerogatives. Today's clash began when one group of monks charged that another had infringed on its jurisdiction within the building.
The scuffle broke out--as such confrontations usually do--when the monks were cleaning the building, and working in areas beyond the patterns of their regular liturgical use.
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