Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fight fight fight at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre!

Sometime I'm amused, hehe. Apparently, last night my time, there was a fight in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Orthodox Palm Sunday.

See, first, "Israeli police had to break up a fist fight that erupted between Greek and Armenian Orthodox clergymen at one of Christianity's holiest sites." And then "an Armenian priest forcibly ejected a Greek priest from an area near the tomb of Jesus. They say the attacker felt the Greek priest had spent too long at the tomb."

Here is the best part EVAR: "When police arrived to break up the fight, some were reportedly beaten back by worshipers using palm fronds."

Apparently, as the article relates, the rivalries between the churches that control the site date back to the "aftermath of the Crusades". Wikipedia reports that the six churches that control the Holy Sepulchre (Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Ethiopian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox) were basically played off against each other by the Sublime Porte during Ottoman Imperial days. I guess that's what the BBC referred to as the "aftermath of the Crusades".

Interestingly, the doors of the church is in the hands of two Muslim families, dating from 627 CE.

So intense is the rivalry between churches that control the Holy Sepulchre that the rivalry "often leads to the neglect of badly needed repairs when the communities cannot come to an agreement among themselves about the final shape of a project. Just such a disagreement has delayed the renovation of the edicule, where the need is now dire, but also where any change in the structure might result in a change to the status quo disagreeable to one or more of the communities."

I couldn't help but find myself thinking that this is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is the tomb of Jesus and one of the chief sites of Christian pilgrimages since ancient days, since at least the third century of the common era. The people who control this, one would hope, would be amongst the holiest of people that their respective churches could find.

But despite all of that, they can't come to accommodations. Fist fights are common occurrences. Rivalries prevent needed repairs from being done. They have a cycle of abuse about one of the holiest sites of their religion.

I mean, for crying out loud, it'd be like France and England still bugging out over what happened during the Hundred Years War! Could you imagine the French President saying to the British PM, "Because of the cruel fashion that your people engaged in the Black Prince's horse raids, we decided to not repair the Channel Tunnel on our end"? Or the various people at the United Nations using centuries old conflict to let parts of the UN building in New York crumble into decay?

It's insane. Religious people are so jealous - I mean, isn't that a sin? isn't pride like that a sin?! - of their special privileges that they can't even agree to keep Jesus' tomb tidy! They can't figure out a way to refrain from fist fights at the site of the resurrection!

Though I did find the bit with the cops being attacked by palm frond waving Christians to be comedy gold, hehe.

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