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Orthodox Christians clash in Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Latest update : 2008-11-10

Greek Orthodox and Armenian worshipers traded blows on Sunday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christian denominations jealously protect their hold over areas of the traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion.

 
Greek and Armenian Orthodox faithful kicked, punched and hit each other with candles on Sunday in Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre, the church built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was buried and resurrected.

Israeli police were called as the free-for-all left several people with black eyes, bruises and bloody cuts.

A number of the faithful hit out with religious artifacts as priests tried to tear each others' robes off in the brawl.

Police were called in to restore order in the Holy Sepulchre, where rivalries between the various denominations is such that the keys to the church have been entrusted for centuries to two Palestinian Muslim families.

Custody of the church itself is shared by the Greeks, Armenians and Roman Catholics, all of whom jealously guard their responsibilities under a fragile network of agreements hammered out over the centuries.

The church is built on the site most Christians revere as the place where Jesus was crucified, and also where he was buried and rose again.
  

Date created : 2008-11-09