Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Christian Crips and Bloods

From the mean streets of Bethlehem, I bring you Altar Boyz in the Hood:

Robed Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests went at each other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity on Thursday as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holiday cleaning.

The basilica, built over the grotto in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born, is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. Any perceived encroachment on one group’s turf can set off vicious feuds.


Apparently someone stepped over a line:

On Thursday, dozens of priests and cleaners came to the fortress-like church to scrub and sweep the floors, walls and rafters ahead of the Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, celebrated in the first week of January. Thousands of tourists visited the church this week for Christmas celebrations.

But the cleanup turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful stepped inside the Armenian church’s section, touching off a scuffle between about 50 Greek Orthodox and 30 Armenians.

Ain’t nuthin’ but a J thing, baby. Peace out.