A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Greek and Armenian Priests at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem Prepare for Eastern Christmas their Traditional Way: the Broom Brawl

As the Eastern date of Christmas approaches, the two faiths that share control of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Greek Orthodox and the Armenians, are ceremonially responsible for preparing the church by cleaning it. It's a rare year when there are no disputes: every inch, every candlestick, every window sill is claimed by one denomination or the other. (The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is more complex with more denominations, but less polarized; in Bethlehem the Romans have their own church next door and share the crypt below, but the Greeks and Armenians split the upper church, which dates from Justinian's day.) Now I, or perhaps you, would say that if the other fellow wants to sweep up on my side of the aisle, go right ahead. After all, who enjoys sweeping; besides, this is the traditional birthplace of the prince of peace. But priests and monks wielding brooms today got into it again in their traditional way. (The Armenians are in the pointy hoods. The guys in uniform breaking it up at the end are police.) Peace on earth, good will to men:

Adding the Al Jazeera English video:

1 comment:

nada said...

They look like blithering idiots!