27 December 2007

Those ill-tempered monks...

I wish someone would tell these monks to cut it out. Once again, the Greek Orthodox monks and the Armenian monks tried to beat the living daylights out of one another in the Basilica of the Holy Nativity. I don't know what the excuse was this time -- I guess it had something to do with who was cleaning what, and someone's ladder got onto someone else's section -- but a similar set-to happened the last time I was there.

We had arrived in the Basilica on the Solemnity of the Epiphany some years ago, and one of the Orthodox bishops had his chair off to the side of the main altar. Apparently, one of the legs was over an invisible line, and some rival monks came over and tried to push it to another location while the bishop was still in it! Needless to say, fisticuffs ensued and the Israeli police had to be called in. What a scandal and embarrassment!

With all that the Christians have to endure at the hands of the authorities, it's just pathetic that these monks can't remember they're caretakers of the birthplace of the Saviour of us all. It's not just a piece of real estate. When I remember the real suffering and discrimination our brothers and sisters in Christ are undergoing, the placement of a ladder or a chair seems less than inconsequential.

Please pray for the Christians who are left in the Holy Land. And pray for these monks. Perhaps someday they'll decide to serve the Lord Jesus, rather than their own interests.