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Friday, December 30, 2011

Priests brawl in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Bethlehem, the place where Jesus Christ was allegedly born. Christians had built a Church, called the Church of the Nativity, on the spot where Jesus was said to had been born. It was visited by many devotees of different Christian sects. Unfortunately, the Church of the Nativity is also where religious brawls frequently occur. Religious differences seem to be the culprit.

According to BBC News, scuffles have broken out between rival groups of Greek Orthodox and Armenian clerics in a turf war at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity just few days ago.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests and monks brawl during preparations for Orthodox
Christmas celebrations.

Bemused tourists looked on as about 100 priests fought with brooms while cleaning the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas, on the 7th of January.

Palestinian police armed with batons and shields broke up the clashes.

Groups of priests have clashed before in the church, built on the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born.

"It was a trivial problem... occurs every year," Lt. Col. Khaled al-Tamimi, a Bethlehem police said.

"No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God," he said.

Nobody was seriously injured in the scuffles, according to the police.

Previous clashes between the denominations which share the administration of the church have been sparked by perceived encroachments on one group's territory by another.

The 1,700-year-old-church, one of the holiest sites in Christianity, is in a bad state of repair, largely because the priests cannot agree on who should pay for its upkeep.

Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where many Christians believe Jesus' body was taken after crucifixion, has also seen similar incidents.


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