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Fight erupts in Jerusalem church

Israeli police attempt to break up scuffles that erupted at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Sunday
Different denominations often vie over access to parts of the site

Israeli police had to break up a fist fight that erupted between Greek and Armenian Orthodox clergymen at one of Christianity's holiest sites.

The scuffles broke out at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Orthodox Palm Sunday.

Brawls are not uncommon at the church, which is uneasily shared by various Christian denominations.

In this case, witnesses say an Armenian priest forcibly ejected a Greek priest from an area near the tomb of Jesus.

They say the attacker felt the Greek priest had spent too long at the tomb.

When police arrived to break up the fight, some were reportedly beaten back by worshippers using palm fronds.

Israeli police attempt to break up scuffles that erupted at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Sunday
Worshippers reportedly tried to fend off police using palm fronds

Two Armenians were detained by police, prompting supporters to stage a rally in protest outside the police station.

Rivalry between the six different churches which grudgingly share the Holy Sepulchre dates back to the aftermath of the crusades, and to the great schism between Eastern and Western Christianity in the 11th Century.

Each denomination controls, and jealously guards, its own section of the labyrinthine site.




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