A few years ago, I took a visitor on a tour of the Old City. When we approached the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, I knew my time was up. I finally had to explain that I don’t go in churches. I would wait outside while they enjoyed the opportunity to worship at such an important site. To understand the next part, you have to know that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is either in or very close to the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and so, after I’d been sitting there a short while, an Israeli police officer came over and asked why I was there. I explained.
I guess he felt that he should “watch” me or perhaps he felt that he could watch everyone else from a position right near me. In any event, for the next 30 minutes or so, he stood nearby and after a few minutes, we began to talk. I asked him if he went in the church or only patrolled outside. His answer was that there are regular fights inside and so he goes in several times per day.
“Who’s fighting?” I asked.
“Who’s not?” he answered.
Apparently, there are disagreements if one group stays too long or is too large, or moves to slowly. He looked resigned to the concept that this would happen all the time and so today’s news item brought back the police officer’s words…
Fight breaks out at Church of Holy Sepulcher
Published: 11.09.08, 12:08
A fight broke out between Greek Orthodox worshippers and Armenian worshippers during preparations for Inventio Crucis at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in eastern Jerusalem. A police force separated between the two sides and detained two worshippers for questioning.