Sunday, November 9, 2008
Monk-ees battle at holy site in Jerusalem
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is said by some to be built over what was the tomb of Jesus Christ (it is also claimed to be the very spot where Jesus was crucified and resurrected.)
Unfortunately, in spite of pious protestations to the contrary, there is absolutely no evidence for those claims. Come to think of it, there's no evidence for Jesus as an historical person, either. But people still kill each other in his name.
So, it isn't surprising that the wars of the Holy Sepulchre continue, as Christians have been battling each other for hundreds of years over custody of this so-called "holy" site.
Today, six Christian sects are "custodians" of the site: The big three, with most of the responsibility, are the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic. Three other sects have lesser responsibilities: Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, and the Syriac Orthodox.
There are many legends about the site, but one of the most interesting has to do with the Emporer Constantine's mother, Helena. In the fourth century she traveled to Jerusalem and lo, and behold, she found the cross upon Jesus was crucified. Actually, she found three of them, which presented a huge problem. How to tell which was THE one? But Helena was creative. Her retinue brought a sick man to touch all three of the crosses. When he touched Jesus' cross, he was healed! It's a miracle!
Today the Christian custodians of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre continue the tradition of fighting amongst each other, just like Jesus taught in the Gospels. You remember where he said, "If your brother offends you, beat the shit out of him! Amen." (Matthew 35:1 - Extended Version]
So, when some Amenian monks were processing to commemorate the 4th century discovery of the "true" cross, Greek monks took offense and told them to stop. The Amenians refused. A pitched battle ensued. The Israeli police were called to break it up.
No one was seriously hurt - just a few bloody gashes and scratches - but the coppers arrested two Armenians and two Greeks.
While the press has sent e-mail and telephone prayer requests asking for clarification and comment to both God and Jesus, neither has responded as yet. The monks have retired to their cells to study further the Word of God to find additional justification to commit violence upon one another.
For additional information on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, click here.