Jerusalem: Armenian, Greek Monks Brawl

Friction between various religious denominations is not new, but an incident that occurred between Armenian and Greek monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has drawn the attention of many bloggers to such rivalry. Ben Witherington says that such behavior is a disgrace.

There are few places that better demonstrate both the diversity and the divided character of Christianity than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. So divided are we, that in order for anything to go on in that Church which likely stands over the spot where Jesus was crucified, the keys to the front door have been held by a Muslim family for centuries, because of course the Christians who have staked out turf in this building couldn't decide who should have the keys! […]


Notice that Christians couldn't settle matters themselves so the Israeli riot police had to come in and break things up— a total disgrace. I wish I could say that real Christians don't behave this way, but since I have seen it with my own eyes in my own church, sadly I am unable to say this. It is too easy to write this off as non-born again folks behaving badly.


Father forgive us, for we know not what we do, nor how terrible our witness to a watching world is.

Opinion of a Minion is also amazed.

The video of it is almost beyond belief. It looks like rival football fans having a tussle but it’s the monks fighting over who gets to be in the church. If Armenians are using it for this Feast, the Greeks have to stay out of it. But the Greeks wanted to keep a guardian in the building, specifically in the area considered to be the tomb of Jesus. Armenians had a bit of a problem with that, and whammo slammo.

It’s worse than a divorce. […]

Contemporary Orthodoxy is particularly upset.

The sort of behavior exhibited by our angelic order is quite possibly the most disgusting display of lack of self control possible. It also seems to indicate a lack of maturity. Our Christian charity requires that we are at the very least tolerant of other denominations. […] A more appropriate way to take care of the situation would be to wait until they are finished and then appeal to the higher authorities as to what would be a more acceptable course of action in the future.

Chaldean Thoughts is also distressed by the brawl.

It's very sad for this to happen at one of the holiest places of Christianity. It's worse to know monks started this brawl.

Therion posts photographs of the fight and uses the occasion to attack Christianity.

Jesus is alleged to have taught his followers to “turn the other cheek” when provoked. But when it comes to representatives of his earthly church – fugetabout it!


This brawl is by no means an isolated occurrence. Six Christian sects share control of the ancient church. They frequently hurl abuse and engage in punch-ups that get so out-of-hand the Israeli police are forced to intervene.

What could be more ironical than Christians beating each other up on the alleged burial site of the ‘Prince of Peace.’ Just one more example of Christian hypocrisy, that gives the lie to everything they claim to stand for.

Friggin Loon is not surprised at all.

Nothing says religion better than a good brawl!

Unzipped posts a video.


  • […] The full post accompanied by video is available on Global Voices Online. […]

  • News4All has translated this post into Dutch:

    Ruziënde Armeense en Griekse monniken

  • […] μπλογκ αυτού, αλλά σαν ντοκουμέντο είναι σημαντικό. Το είδα στο Global Voices. Δείτε και βγάλτε τα συμπεράσματά σας. Μοιράσου το με: […]

  • Rainer Zimmer-Winkel

    .. struggles like this and violence especially are more than sad, even if the situation is much more complicated, than it looks like; BUT, the things did not happen in Israel, but in Occupied East-Jerusalem.
    Rainer Zimmer-Winkel, Berlin

  • Arthur

    I don’t know whose right or whose wrong , nor do I care, being an American Armenian I can tell you the Armenian Church leadership are idiots, they fight among them selves dividing the people.

    They have also demonstrated inept of leadership in their silence about the “1919 Genocide of the Armenian people” by Turkey.

    I applaud the Black Churchs getting behind their people in support of the injustice brought on people in America.

    The Armenian Church has never been a relevant to their people.

  • Robby

    Rainer Zimmer-Winkel – I’ll bet you’re thinking those Israeli’s caused this somehow, aren’t you? Maybe it was staged to divert attention from the real issues? Perhaps those pesky Zionist drugged the monks so they didn’t know what they were doing? BTW – you are mistaken, it happened in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.

  • […] conflict, the number one talking point on the streets of the Armenian capital is the recent brawl between Armenian and Greek monks in Jerusalem. The blog sums up reactions which mainly clear Armenians of all blame and recalls how deacons […]

  • Gary

    Having served in the church myself I can say that monks have no tolerance for each other.
    To the Armenian monks:what’s the big deal having a Greek monk take part of your ritual?
    To the Greek monks: Let the Armenian monks do their thing and then you do yours.
    Unfortunately both sides have this inferiority complex which is often expressed by aggressive behavior.
    Christ sad once whoever wants to be the 1st let him be the last one among you.
    So to both sides grow up!

  • As an Australian Armenian and my personal experiences with the Armenian church within Australia have been very sad. Armenians and the Armenian church are so judgmental and very hypocritical I just wouldn’t know where to start.
    I am not surprised that this has happened as Armenians have big chips on their shoulders and the Armenian church rather than embracing each other with the Greek church in its ritual rather than making it a political statement like they ALWAYS DO!!!! our religion is exactley the same with a few minor differences,how embarrasing to bring this to the attention of the world and shows how hypocritical both of these the churches are when they preach tolerance and neither sides actually practice it!
    Armenia and Armenians wake up,take the politics out of the church,its not where it belongs.

  • Platonykiss

    The relations between Greek-Orthodox and Armenian-Orthodox church are very complex. I don’t comment on this.

    There were also a lot of fights in Constantinople, after St. John Chrysostome was exiled a second time, who said a lot of uncomfortable things to the Byzantine court. The old Hagia Sophia church burnt down.

    I can imagine that humans who are always asked to be peaceful, must be especially aggressive. I don’t judge them.

    But what about the idea that Christian monks will meet regularly in order to fight or to play football against each other.

    This will help!

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