You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Somehow, Luther is to blame for this too

If bearded holy men do have to fight each other, can't they at least have the courtesy to use Bo staffs and samurai swords, not... brooms?

Feuding Christian sects have attacked each other in a flurry of fists and brooms at the Bethlehem church where Christ was reputedly born, leaving four people injured.
The fight took place at the ecumenical Church of the Nativity, where priests from both the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic orders had been cleaning up after Christmas celebrations earlier in the week, the BBC reports.
It is understood the fracas began when a Greek priest placed a ladder in a part of the church known be under Armenian jurisdiction.
Up to 80 bearded holy men wearing dark robes became embroiled in the fight, many wielding brooms.
Palestinian police were forced to separate the warring orders by forming themselves into a human shield.
The church, shared between the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Roman Catholic authorities, has long been a source of tension.
It is built over the spot Jesus is thought to have been born 2007 years ago.
Thousands of pilgrims have already packed out the church over the Christmas period, with more celebrations planned for next week.

- " Warring priests trade blows with brooms," NineMSN News (28 December 2007)

The late [Charles Gore, 1853-1932, Anglican Bishop of Oxford] was once shown around Jerusalem by a friend of mine, who asked what he thought Jesus would say about the sectarian disputes round His Tomb. "I believe He would say, with that wonderful smile of his: 'My children must have toys. Do not all children sometimes quarrel about their toys?'."

- HV Morton, In the Steps of the Master (1934, rep 2002), p 52.

The Church of the Nativity is a shabby mess, a result of quarrelling religious orders. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic priests have staked out Nativity turf with the acrimonious precision of teenage brothers sharing a bedroom. A locked steel door prevents direct access from the Roman Catholic chapel to the Manger Grotto, which has to be reached through the Greek Orthodox monastery where there is a particular "Armenian beam" that Greek Orthodox monks stand on to sweep the area above the grotto entrance, making the Armenians... angry...
- PJ O'Rourke, Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism (2004), pp 47-48.

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