Those wacky christians: A followup

The Times has a followup article to the one I wrote about several weeks ago regarding monks fighting over territorial rights at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. I can't imagine trying to summarize this, so I'll just excerpt a bit of it. One of the things that interested me was how all of the other sects took over the "territory" of the Ethiopians after they were wiped out by plague in 1658. The article also mentions that 11 monks were hospitalized after the previously-mentioned melee.

At 11:40 a.m. on Saturday, a 72-year-old Egyptian priest walked out onto the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher carrying a wooden chair.

Limping heavily, the Rev. Abdel Mallek walked to a wall in the shade of a tree mysteriously rooted in the ancient stone and sat down near a cluster of Ethiopian monks, gazing at nothing in particular. Exactly 15 minutes later, he gathered his chair and walked back into the Coptic monastery.

It was the most prosaic of scenes, except that Father Mallek was closely guarded by an Israeli policeman, and three others stood guard. From the windows of the Egyptian monastery on one side, someone recorded the scene with a video camera, while several Ethiopian monks peered warily over the wall of their ancient compound on the other side.


The policemen saw nothing strange in the assignment. They are also from Jerusalem. "This is the center of the world," one explained. "This is how the world looks."

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Published on August 27, 2002 12:49 AM.


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