Priests brawl at Jesus' birthplace

At a Bethlehem church built over the manger where Jesus was alleged to have been born, two groups of "robed and bearded" Greek Orthodox priests and Armenian priests fought each other for over an hour "using fists, brooms and iron rods as weapons." Seven people were injured in the brawl.
200712280924 The brawl apparently began when Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church after the Christmas Day celebrations.

Armenian priests claimed that the ladders encroached on their portion of the church, which led the two sects to exchange angry words which quickly turned to blows.

Photographers who came to document the annual cleaning ceremony instead recorded the entire event.

Link (Thanks, jjasper!)


  1. I assume alkaline batteries are still permitted? How will this affect medical devices, such as glucose monitors for diabetics?

  2. so, do you like…have the batteries in a sack to swing at the other priests? whatever. it warms my heart to see organized religion getting back to its roots. enough of this father bob playin’ the guitar with the hootnanny of a fellowship lovin’ each another. puke. this is religion. the olde tyme religion. Real love abides

  3. It’s too bad there isn’t some sort of set of ethics or maybe a book detailing how these type of situations can be handled which these priests can turn to in times of trouble.

    Oh, wait…

  4. let me get this right. They “fought” for over an hour “using fists, brooms and iron rods as weapons.” and only hurt 6 people. Amateurs.

  5. I’ve pulled guard duty in Bethlehem in December. It’s a frozen shithole of a tourist-trap, and the various xtian denominations jealously guard their territorial prerogatives because it represents quite a bit of income (over broadcast rights, for example).

    They are so vigilant because managing to move a boundary an inch per year would have large effects after a century or so.

    The main thing that prevents incidents like this from flaring up in public *every year* is the fact that there are so many journalists around, but you better believe that as soon as the cameras are packed up and the journos leave it’s back to the status quo.

  6. For maximum irony points, it was apparently Palestinian police who brought peace to the church by separating the brawlers.

    So, unless they were Christian Palestinians, which is possible, I guess, it looks like Muslims brought peace to Christ’s birthplace.

  7. Ha, I bet this is no fiercer than has taken place in any ‘people of the book’ holy place. I wouldn’t mind betting it’s a gentle frat-boy of a fight compared to stuff in Mecca.

    Hmm, I wonder what atheist fights have taken place in similar style? For example, has there ever been something similar near Lenin’s tomb? If not, is it because of the legitimacy of Lenin’s views?

  8. Great! I might put a photo of this on my Christmas cards next year, and put Luke 2:14 on the inside.

    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

  9. As the article points out, there have been similar fights at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. What makes this extra-ridiculous is that neither site is fully authenticated.

  10. And lo, St. Moe did climb the ladder and did take the Holy paintbrush and did stick it in St. Larry’s mouth, which did make St. Curly laugh, causing him to drop the Holy pipe wrench on St. Moe’s foot…

  11. A little alcohol, marijuana and some sexual experimentation and they wouldn’t keep having problems like this.

  12. With the non-protestant denominations trespassing is often handled with swift physical violence. I know a female videographer who was assaulted during a wedding ceremony by a Catholic priest because she approached too close to the altar. Having done some videography myself, I was warned about sudden physical retribution if the altar wasn’t respected.

    It seems par for the course.

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