NEWS

Monks in holy site punch-up

Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks were involved in a bloody fist fight in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus’s burial and resurrection, in Jerusalem yesterday. Israeli police were forced to intervene after monks started trading blows during an annual procession held by Armenian clergymen to commemorate the 4th-century discovery of the cross on which Jesus is believed to have been crucified. It appears that the Greek Orthodox monks took exception to the Armenians closing the door of the tomb, preventing one of them from being inside during the procession. Taking this as a sign that the Armenians were trying to establish rights that they did not have, the Greek Orthodox holy men attempted to stop the procession. The ensuing punch-up led to two monks, one from each side, being arrested. This is the latest in a series of violent incidents involving members of the six Christian denominations that share control of the ancient church.