ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM Yrovsa.emi Ha3 Badriarkov;ivn
PRESS RELEASE - 30 December 2007
DIVAN OF THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM
PO Box 14235
Jerusalem 91141
Contact: Joyce Sulahian
Tel: (9722) 628-2331, Ext. 215
FAX: (9722) 626-4861
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.armenian-patriarchate.org


COMMUNIQUE


NEW INCIDENT BETWEEN THE ARMENIAN AND GREEK ORTHODOX BROTHERHOODS IN
THE CHURCH OF NATIVITY IN BETHLEHEM



AGREEMENT ON THE RESTORATION OF THE LAVATORIES OF THE

HOLY SEPULCHRE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM





On December 27, 2007, on the occasion of the annual cleaning in the
Armenian Chapel of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, an unpleasant
clash took place between the members of the Armenian St. James
Brotherhood and the Greek Orthodox Brotherhood.



According to a 1919 arrangement regarding the Status Quo jurisdiction
of the Armenian, Greek and Latin (Catholic) Communities that has been
in effect, the sweeping of the ceiling of the Armenian Chapel above a
marked line is carried out by the Greek Orthodox using a stationary
tall ladder placed in the centre of the Chapel. Without moving the
ladder from its fixed position, a long-handled broom is used for the
cleaning. This time the Greek Orthodox insisted upon an alleged right
to move the ladder around from its fixed position. The Armenian
Brotherhood refused to accept this intention and insisted that the
ladder remain stationary according to the established
arrangement. When the Greek Orthodox attempted to execute their
viewpoint, they met with the physical resistance of the Armenian
Brotherhood. Both sides clashed briefly, using long-handled brooms
and stones, until Palestinian police arrived to separate the two sides
engaged in the fighting.



The Chief of Police concurred with the Armenian standpoint, and under
police protection, supervised the placing of the high ladder at the
centre of the Armenian Chapel,


instructing a Greek monk to continue the sweeping of the ceiling from
the stationary ladder using an elongated broom. The members of both
the Armenian and Greek clergy as well the Latins (Catholic) resumed
the cleaning of the whole Church of Nativity without further incident.



On December 29, 2007, after the conclusion of many months of
negotiations between the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Franciscan
Communities in Jerusalem, the Armenian and Greek Orthodox Patriarchs
and the Custos of the Holy Land signed an agreement to restore the
aged lavatories of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The restoration
will begin in the near future.



Jerusalem, 30 December 2007 DIVAN OF THE HOLY SEE