When you hear (or read) of a squabble like the one below that happened in Jerusalem a few days ago, it makes you wonder if these well-intentioned religious icons ever bother to read their handbook. If these men are required to be celebate as part of their monkhood, then perhaps this brouhaha is simply a buildup of testosterone that seeks release in fisticuffs. But I suspect that is not the case and rather is just a power trip for men of the cloth who have too much time on their hands.
Police rushed into one of Christianity’s holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus’ tomb.
The clash broke out between Armenian and Green Orthodox monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
It began as Armenian clergymen marched in an annual procession commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus. It ended with the arrival of dozens of riot policemen who separated the sides, seizing a bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead. Both men were taken away in handcuffs.
Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.
The feud revolves around a demand by the Greek Orthodox to post a monk inside the Edicule - the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus - during the Armenian procession. The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way.
“We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through … and establish a right that they don’t have,” said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye. The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses.
Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was “against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher.” He said the Greeks attacked first. Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, said his monks had not initiated the violence. “I’m sorry that these events happened in front of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the most holy religious monument of Christianity ,” he said....
The entire story can be found via Google, and it is quite unbelievable. Seems to me that both the Armenian and Greek monks should sit down together and read from James 1:27 - "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
These monks fall more than a little short of pure religion. Methinks they need a massive dose of humility.