Monks/priests fighting church of nativity and the holy sepulchre

Does anyone know the history here or is it over who has the right to clean the tomb and nativity area?

I must say I was very surprised that monks and priests would behave this way at Holy Sites where Our Lord was born and buried and resurrected.

Nobody owns the sites, it belongs to all Christians regardless of denomination.

Sad - very sad…


Monks can be rowdy folk, especially Eastern monks it seems, meaning no disrespect. :slight_smile:

Strictly speaking of course the most appropriate guardian of these holy sites would be either one of the Eastern Catholic Churches or else, in light of crusade-era history, the Latin Rite Church and in particular the Franciscans. But of course non-Catholic Churches don’t agree, and so there is tension and scandal.

Obviously the current arrangement to try to share the holy sites is very imperfect, but it would be very difficult to negotiate a new arrangement. Hopefully these very scandals will serve to encourage all parties to be more prudent, or even charitable if they can manage it.

By the way, the current arrangements for sharing the buildings are often very old, complicated, convoluted things which could give more meaning to an act than appears on the surface. For example, I don’t know but it would not surprise me if by not preventing a monk from one Church from washing the steps traditionally held by another Church the other Church would be ceding control of the steps to the one doing the washing according the mutually agreed-upon rules, and so the scuffle would really have been a minor little crusade of one Church against another, trying to gain control of one tiny piece of the holy land.

What would Jesus think of all of this? Not to mention the years of violence that have occurred in places like Northern Ireland. This is very sad and I think that one day a lot of people are going to have a lot to answer for.

I understand but I would have thought mutual respect for each other and especially for the Holy sites would be paramount. I mean just the fact that you are worshipping in, cleaning and taking care of Our Lords birthplace and tomb should be enough for people to show self restraint, respect and reverence in the place.

Maybe I am naive, I thought the clergy and religious were somehow more in control of their base instincts than I a mere layperson.

There is no need to organise a new arrangement for caring for these sites, there is however a need for these religious to reflect, they need to take a long hard look at themselves and their poor behaviour.

The thing is the church has been jointly held for centuries. The ownership of sections of the church was made using archaic laws. Back then the rule is “if you take care of a piece of land, you own that piece of land.” So farmers for example own the land they cultivate. If the rest of the land is open, they can expand their land just by cultivating a larger piece of land. So that is how it is in the church, they sweep their side of the church. Sweeping on the side of the other group is a sign of taking possession of that section. Thus the fight. The main hall is divided by the Greek Orthodox and Armenians. The Catholic Church is in charge of the chapel below, so they don’t get into fights.

I always heard the Armemians are of the roof?

on the roof

Are you saying the Armenians take care of the roof of the Church?

You may be right.

If I recall correctly there are rival Copts and Ethiopians (both Oriental Orthodox) on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There was a similar sort of conflict between them over a particular part of the roof a few years ago I think.

Are they Eastern Orthodox monks/priests or Eastern Catholic? I read somewhere that Franciscans also look after the sites.

These particular monks are Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, with Franciscans (who are not monks according to stricter definitions of the word) being the Catholic custodians, but in my comment about the rowdiness of monks I did not have Catholic/Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox divisions in mind at all.

Oh, so in general monks from all sides can be rowdy. :smiley:

One word: PRIDE!

Thier church is on the roof.

They should be thankful its not Shaolin Monks who are there with them. Hard to beat them in a fight :D:D:D:D

:eek: That would be the look on their faces.

hahahhaha…I got a stitch from laughing so hard. Thank you. :smiley:

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