Generally, people don’t like to clean. If your roommate offered to scrub the toilet, do the dishes, and sweep the floors for you, you’d probably be all right with that. Things are apparently a little different with monks, we learned today. At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, rival gangs of monks — Greek Orthodox and Armenian — hurled brooms at each other during a cleaning session of the church, which they share. The AP explains:
The monks were tidying up the church ahead of Orthodox Christmas celebrations in early January, following celebrations by Western Christians on Dec. 25. The fight erupted between monks along the border of their respective areas. Some shouted and hurled brooms….
A fragile status quo governs relations among the denominations at the ancient church, and to repair or clean a part of the structure is to own it, according to accepted practice. That means that letting other sects clean part of the church could allow one to gain ground at another’s expense. Similar fights have taken place during the same late-December cleaning effort in the past.
That’s the Christmas spirit.