Minus The Nemesis
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Thursday, December 27, 2007
You would think that there would be connotations of peace and harmony associated when speaking about the Christian faith. In particular, you would expect to find tranquility in one of the most holy sites in the known universe: Bethlehem. According to this article, however, a brawl broke out between Armenian priests and Greek Orthodox priests in the church where Jesus is said to have been born (the church is built over the site). That's right, a freakin' punch up over the cleaning of the church following Christmas celebrations. I have got to get to the bottom of this. As such, I have forwarded the following letter to archdiocese of both the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Churches:

Your Holiness,

I am writing with somewhat of a concern in reference to recent events that occurred in Bethlehem. I was reading around the Internet this afternoon and read that in Bethlehem of all places and in specific, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, a punch up began. At first I thought that the punch up might have broken out by rowdy or somehow unruly churchgoers. I was aghast at the fact that the punch up was between priests from Armenia and Greek Orthodox priests.

I would have thought that cleaning the Church of the Nativity would be something that is a time honored tradition despite religious differences. Yet, it seems in the article that I read (just a blurb really from the AP) that there was a territorial encroachment that sparked the punch up. It would seem that the Armenian priests are claiming that Greek Orthodox ladders were too close to their territory or some such bickering.

I am hoping that as a spiritual leader you may be able to shed some light on this subject. Why is there so much trouble between these two groups of priests? Is there information that is factual and maybe even historical that you can share to allow me a better understanding of this? Honestly, who would have thought in at least 2000 years that a fistfight would break out at the alleged birthplace of Jesus Christ? Isn't this a bit childish and unorthodox per se?

What actions might (or should) be taken to curb such behavior? While I explore my own faith it is a sort of roadblock to find out this sort of behavior exists between grown men of the cloth. I would have assumed that due to the location and tradition of this holy site that matters such as "ladder encroachment" would be settled outside of the church with a mean game of chess, or a bocce ball tournament. Instead, I get to read about a holy punch up. Something isn't right. Please advise.

Respectfully Yours,

Confused in Church

I eagerly await their respective responses.

*EDIT:* As of 27 December I have only received this from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese:
Thank you for submitting your comments to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

Your email has been received and will be forwarded to the appropriate department in the Archdiocese for a response. We will make every effort to respond to your email as soon as possible.

However, please keep in mind that unfortunately we cannot respond immediately in most cases. Due to both the high volume of email that the Archdiocese receives on a daily basis as well as the need to forward your email to the appropriate department, you may not receive a response immediately.

In Christ,
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

The wait continues...


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