Fighting among Greek and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

Israeli police have had to restore order at one of Christianity's holiest sites after a mass brawl broke out between monks in Jerusalem's Old City.

Fighting erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Christ's crucifixion.

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.

Shocked pilgrims looked on as decorations and tapestries were toppled during Sunday's clash.

Dressed in the vestments of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian denominations, rival monks threw punches and anything they could lay their hands on.

The Greeks blamed the Armenians for not recognising 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.

The Armenians had been preparing to commemorate the 4th Century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

A Greek clergyman said: "We protested peacefully, we stood here in the middle and we claimed that we shall not leave the procession finished unless they leave our guardian be inside. This didn't happen and in that moment the police interfered."

Six Christian sects share control of the ancient church and the BBC's Wyre Davies in Jerusalem says confrontations between them are not uncommon, but rarely descend into violence.

Source: BBC

The only reaction on the media I found is by Gibrahayer Editor in Chief, Mr. Simon Aynedjian. Below is his editorial:
The brawl between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox clergy over rituals and traditions is an unnecessary spot in the existing brotherly relations between Greeks and Armenians across the globe.
Although these relations over time can withstand much more than a punch-up between priests, they undermine the carefully and patiently knitted political and cultural ties between Armenians and Greeks, in Cyprus, Greece and in our Diasporas.
The priests in Jerusalem should think carefully before throwing the next punch, because with every punch, alliances are battered, friendships are strained and ties monopolised.
When our "spiritual brothers" were busy throwing punches, Armenia was welcoming Cyprus Parliament President, an Armenian by race.
When our "spiritual brothers" were busy cursing each other in the holiest of places, the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, was opening the doors of Saint George Church, so that Armenians, in the constantly-growing Armenian community of Paphos could have their ceremony, honour their dead and practise their faith in an environment of religious tolerance and brotherly love.
When our "spiritual brothers" prepare to throw the next punch let them think that in other countries of the Eastern Mediterranean - not too far away from Jerusalem - a political, religious and ethnic web linking Armenians and Greeks is desperately trying to hold on to national values and true threats by real enemies that carry the same name.
Therefore, dear "spiritual brothers" next time you prepare to take the next punch... BEWARE... You are not alone in the ring.

Simon Aynedjian - Gibrahayer e-magazine