A Real War on Christmas

Or more accurately, a war between the traditional date of Christmas and the Greek Orthodox celebration of Christmas, which is in early January. And the war was between Greek and Armenian priests who were cleaning the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Clergy from two Christian sects came to blows in the Church of the Nativity on Wednesday morning, prompting police to storm the Bethlehem holy site.

Several dozen Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests were cleaning the interior of the church Wednesday morning when, according to witnesses, two of them began fighting.

The fight quickly escalated, and soon, 50 to 60 priests were exchanging blows with broomsticks.

I wonder how many of them were turning the other cheek and being peacemakers so they would be blessed? #thingsthatJesussaidthatChristiansignore

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • peterh

    Didn’t I read somewhere that similar senseless sectarian squabbling has been a firmly fixed feature of the landscape for roughly 2,000 years?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    peter, longer than that. It all started, way back in the Days of Yore, when the first religion attracted its second member.

  • Johnny Vector

    Ooh, broomstick fights are the best! There’s a backflip in the bar brawl at the beginning of The Train Job that just kicks ass! Okay, technically that was a pool cue not a broomstick, but still I wonder if these priests have that kind of physical chops. Cause really, if you’re not certified in stage combat what is the point of priesthood at all?

  • alanb

    When I first read this I thought that you must have come across an old news item, because the exact same thing happened in 2007: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7161557.stm.

  • mareap

    Just broomsticks? They’ve really let down their standards. Where’s the bloodshed and carnage of yore??

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    It reminds me of a line Christopher Hitchens used to use, “Isn’t it wonderful how all the Christians love each other?”

  • slc1

    Similar things at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where several Christian denominations have the share ownership of the place. There are a bizarre set of rules to determine when each denomination is in charge and allowed to conduct services.

  • dingojack

    Apros of nothing,

    Fire in the City. Country Joe and the Fish.


  • John Phillips, FCD

    alanb, it’s been happening for centuries. In the past, many of the Islamic overlords of Jerusalem used to sell the right to be in charge of the various xian holy places to whoever had the bigger purse. Either that or use them as a mens to keep the countries that were the main support for each of the various xian sects at each others throat and too busy to bother them.

  • Aquaria


    This is getting old.

  • shay

    Palestinian police — who are probably Muslim — keeping the peace between two groups of priests.

    If reality didn’t exist, we’d have to make it up.

  • chilidog99

    slc1 @ 7

    It’s about time that some one put the damned ladder away.

  • slc1

    Re shay @ #11

    Actually, it’s the Government of Israel that is responsible for keeping the peace between the various Christian factions.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com tommykey

    SLC1, actually it was Palestinian police intervening this time.

  • laurentweppe

    actually it was Palestinian police intervening this time.

    Was the Israeli police too busy not stoping fundies from bullying primary school girls?

  • Strategically Shaved Monkey

    The Holy Sepulchre at Easter (IIRC), when they actually agree on a date for something is a riot – literally. Greeks, Armenians and RCs all fighting to defend their allotted space from the other.

    The only thing they can agree on is to ban the protestants.

    Ecumenicism at work.

  • slc1

    Re Tommykey @ #14

    Correct, Bethlehem is on the West Bank and is currently under the jurisdiction of the PA. I was thinking of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem which is currently under the jurisdiction of the Government of Israel. By the way, the police authority in Bethlehem probably includes some Christians as the city still contains a considerable number (at one time, they constituted the majority).

  • lordshipmayhem

    “Honest, officer! We were just cleaning the place, and a quiddich game suddenly started!”