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Greek monks' disrespect for status quo caused row in Jerusalem

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has categorically denied the Greek monks have any right to be present at a service in the Aedicule of the Holy Sepulcher Church, representative of the Armenian community of Jerusalem Arthur Hakobian told PanARMENIAN.Net

According to Father Pakrad Berjekian, who is in charge of overseeing the Patriarchate's properties, the Greek Orthodox church says it has the right to place a monk in what is called the Angel's Chamber, in the Aedicule, on four occasions: the feast of the Holy Cross, the 1st Sunday of Great Lent, Palm Sunday and Holy Fire Saturday.

"This claim is a novelty to us and to everybody and has no grounds," he told said.

He added that the Armenians have presented the relevant evidence to the authorities and made its position clear.

Berjekian also noted that the ladder lying over the main entrance of the Holy Sepulcher Church belongs to Armenians.

Fighting erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of Christ's crucifixion on Sunday, November 9.

Two monks from each side were detained as dozens of worshippers traded kicks and punches at the shrine, said police.

Trouble flared as Armenians prepared to mark the annual Feast of the Cross.

The Greeks blamed the Armenians for not recognizing their rights inside the holy site, while the Armenians said the Greeks had violated one of their traditional ceremonies.

An Armenian clergyman said the Greek clergy had tried to place one of their monks inside the Edicule, an ancient structure which is said to encase the tomb of Jesus.

"What is happening here is a violation of status quo. The Greeks have tried so many times to put their monk inside the tomb but they don't have the right to when the Armenians are celebrating the feast," he said.
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