Author Topic: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem  (Read 29524 times)

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Online Asteriktos

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Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« on: November 09, 2008, 02:47:20 PM »
Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem

Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The brawling began during a procession of Armenian clergymen commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

The Greeks objected to the march without one of their monks present, fearing that otherwise, the procession would subvert their own claim to the Edicule — the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus — and give the Armenians a claim to the site.

The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way, sparking the brawl...

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2008, 02:51:09 PM »
I think it would really be news if something like this did NOT occur. Sad, and tedious.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008, 03:37:30 PM »
Indeed.  Sometimes, because of this bad behavior among Orthodox, I feel that sooner or later, God will allow the Holy Sepulchre to be damaged and destroyed and in the end, no one will own anything.  Only in calamities like this will Orthodox unite and love one another rather than try to fight for ownership of land.
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Offline Fr. David

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 04:36:21 PM »
Should this be in the prayer forum?  :-\ :-X
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Offline arimethea

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 05:02:01 PM »
Indeed.  Sometimes, because of this bad behavior among Orthodox
The problem is that this an "Orthodox" site in which the Orientals and the Latines bought space from the Ottomans. This is not just a problem between the "Greeks," the "Orientals" and the "Latines" and the fact that they are not in communion with each other. The full AP story makes mention of the disagreement between the Copts and the Ethiopians, who are in communion with each other, about the location of a ladder that was put up in the 19th century and how it threatens the collapse of a roof because they can't agree on moving it.

There is only one solution and that is the removal of all the groups and return of full control to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Joseph

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2008, 05:59:15 PM »
Just saw the story picked up by Foxnews, complete with comments "I thought monks were pacificists..."

The Church of Jerusalem would have to become a Church of People and not of shrines/museums, before I would want it to get the whole Church of the Resurrection.  He is a God of the Living, not the Dead.
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2008, 06:05:25 PM »
Isn't this an event on the liturgical calendar? ::)
Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl. ~Frederick the Great

Offline Rosehip

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2008, 06:34:38 PM »
Sigh.

Are all of those guys in the pictures actually monks? The injured Greeks do indeed appear to be monks, but the Armenians in the colourful robes? Are they monks, or merely altar servers (I'm not familiar with the Armenian church vestments)?
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline Rosehip

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2008, 07:46:37 PM »

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7718587.stm

This video from the bbc is much more interesting. I know it's not funny, but for some reason, it reminds me of an action-packed movie...
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline antiderivative

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2008, 08:41:07 PM »
Shouldn't the Patriarch of Jerusalem threaten to excommunicate people who get in these fights? The Patriarch of Moscow did it during a few recent communist riots, and it worked.
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Offline Eleos

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2008, 08:46:50 PM »
who should we root for?
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Offline Jakub

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2008, 09:06:42 PM »
Betcha Don King is awaiting a invite...
An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2008, 10:19:30 PM »
There is only one solution and that is the removal of all the groups and return of full control to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Is that really the only solution?  I mean, I personally don't care who owns the Supulchre, but let's be honest here.  What if in fact, for argument's sake, the Greeks were actually trying to piss off the Armenians on their procession.  Is that still a right solution?

Truth is, these things deserve to be museums so long as there is fighting between Christian groups and no brotherly solution (including Copts and Ethiopians).  So even the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem is not excluded from this.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2008, 10:20:03 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2008, 10:22:23 PM »

There is only one solution and that is the removal of all the groups and return of full control to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

That is precisely what the Greeks in Jerusalem are trying to accomplish through bribes to the Israelis and breaking the status quo rules.  

The Greeks know that when they step in the middle of an Armenian procession at a time when the Armenians have a right to be there, the Armenians have two choices under the status quo rules.  One choice is to aggressively assert their rights.  The other choice is to let go of their rights and just give everything over to the Greeks.  If the Armenians don't publicly and forcefully assert their rights, then under the status quo rules the Greeks have a right to the property.  The Greeks know this.  

The Greeks over the past couple of years have been relentlessly breaking the status quo, hoping the Armenians will not do what they are supposed to do in order to defend their rights.  It's getting tiresome.  This is partly so because the Armenians have tried to settle this peacefully with dialogue with the Greek Patriarch over there, only to be deliberately ignored and to see the violations of their rights continue.  This is also frustrating because the Israelis have been siding with the Greeks because the Greeks have given them land.  Another frustrating thing about this is the way the Greeks cry and make themselves out to be victims when it is they who are baiting the Armenians and giving the Armenians no choice but to deal with the violations the way they do.  

A friend of mine was in Jerusalem last Palm Sunday when the last outbreak happened.  He was there.  He said the Armenians were worshiping at a time and place inside the Tomb where they are allowed under the status quo rules.  As they were praying, a Greek monk came, and broke through the semi-circle of Armenian clergy, roughly and rudely shoving aside priests and deacons as he made his way inside the Tomb.  This was a deliberate provocation.  The Armenians asked him to leave and, when he refused, an Armenian deacon physically had to pick him up and carry him outside.  The deacon handed the Greek over to an Israeli guard who was outside the Tomb, but the guard refused to do anything about it.  The Greek monk went right back inside, again shoving and pushing Armenian clergy.  The deacon again carried the guy outside, and this time the Israeli guard responded by arresting some of the Armenians.  A large demonstration outside a government building resulted in the release of the Armenians, but the Greeks are still engaging in the same aggressive behavior.

They are trying to accomplish what Arimathea would like to see, which is the Greeks having exclusive control of the holy places in Jerusalem.  They don't want to share.  The Armenians, on the other hand, are willing to share.  We are not violating the rights of the Greeks and baiting them.  It is the Greeks who are doing this to the Armenians.  The Armenians know how to share.  That is something the Greeks need to learn how to do.

Offline Rosehip

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2008, 10:33:01 PM »
This is exactly my take on the affair as well-judging by a close inspection of the BBC video. Why did the Greeks have to provoke the Armenians in such a way when they (the Armenians) were obviously minding their own business and having a nice service???? It seemed very rude and irritating to me.  It seemed to me the Armenians who were tusseling were merely altar boys/at most seminarians and the Armenian monks were behaving quite peacefully-in fact, at times trying to restrain their energetic young men. In one frame a couple older greek monks were to be seen attacking a young Armenian guy out of the blue, and knocking his glasses off. Now, I know there were some Greek monks who had sustained some minor facial wounds too, but hey, after all they started it by aggravating the Armenians.

What a mess.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2008, 10:33:37 PM »
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15636.0.html#lastPost

Above is a thread dealing with the Palm Sunday incident, which my friend witnessed.  Note that toward the end of the thread (replies 18 and 19,) two of our EO posters mentioned Greek land deals with the Israelis.  I've heard that this is what is making the Israelis partial to the Greeks.  Normally, I disregard such rumors, but in this case, one is tempted to give it credence.

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2008, 12:20:00 AM »
First of all, let's teach these guys to fight. This was a girls fight.
If guys can throw haymakers on skates, surely a few robes and cassocks shouldn't come in the way!

Like hockey, there should be an agreed upon code. If monks from the other team violate the code, the enforcer should engage the enforcer from said team violating the code and fight at center altar. Five minute majors can be awarded and play can continue at even stength. If one team should continue with unsportsmanlike conduct it will be up to minor enforcers on the opposing team to make sure liberties are not taken.

If one team should get caught for instigating and the opposing team goes on a power play....
Well if their pentalty killing unit is not up to the task, shame on them!

Offline Salpy

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2008, 12:42:14 AM »
You need to go to Bethlehem for Nativity.  You can be the referee.   :)

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2008, 12:44:33 AM »
oh no!
As bad as NHL referees are, I think one of their crew should go to adjudicate!

They can run around in sneakers!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 12:44:53 AM by BrotherAidan »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2008, 02:37:02 AM »
Please don't be quick to get on the bandwagon. How many of you have actually been to the Holy Land?
Ancient, strict protocols control how things happen at the holy sites precisely because so many various groups share the space. The situation is such at the Church of the Resurrection that the keys of the Church are not even in Christian hands- a Moslem holds them.
We have very strict protocols here on OCnet too, and occasionally, people will flaunt them. Sometimes people will ignore a breach of protocol here for the sake of peace, but other times, they will react and a war of words ensues. For example, If I make a racist remark against a group who use this forum (for example, if I say "Armenians don't know how to share") then the diplomatic thing to do would be to ignore this, but sometimes, tempers flare. The cause is me- the one who didn't follow protocol, not the one who lost their temper because of it.
Because we are different Churches and not in Communion, we understand things differently and come from different cultures with different protocols. Therefore, we need to follow the agreed protocols for our interactions with each other, as these externals are the only common language we have with each other. Because if we don't, then these sorts of incidents are inevitable.
I once met Her Royal Highness Diana, Princess of Wales when she visited the Sacred Heart Hospice in Sydney where I was working at the time. The day before the visit, we were given a 3 hour instruction on correct protocol for the visit. For example, one does not extend their hand to a Royal to shake hands, you wait for the Royal to extend theirs; you don't touch a Royal (an offence which carries a gaol term unless the Royal pardons you!), you never ask for their autograph, you don't walk in front of them, refusing to bow (or courtesy in the case of females) is an act of treason if you are their subject,  etc.... This was all very strange to us coming from the laid-back Australian culture, but this is how things are done, so we did it.
If the Protocol in the Holy Sepulchre is that a representative of the Greek Orthodox is to be present when anyone enters the Edicule, then this should be followed. I wouldn't dream of entering the Tomb of St. Hripsime in Echmiadzin without following the protocol expected of me by the guardians of the Holy Site, why is the Holy Sepulchre any different?
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Offline Myrrh23

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2008, 02:43:43 AM »
Royal behavior aside, in other words, we should treat others as we would wish to be treated. If we wish our part in the protocol to be respected, we must respect the parts of it that belong to others? :)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 03:03:27 AM by Myrrh23 »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2008, 02:57:38 AM »
Royal begavior aside, in other words, we should treat others as we would wish to be treated. If we wish our part in the protocol to be respected, we must respect the parts of it that belong to others? :)

Precisely. The Holy Sepulchre has four custodians:

1) The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem Patriarchate)
,
http://monastery.org/sephist.html
(Who are responsible for the tomb itself, as well as Golgotha)

2) The Fransciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Roman Catholic)

http://www.custodia.org/?page=splash
(Responsible for the Latin Chapel)

3) The Joudeh Family (Moslem) 

http://www.jerusalemites.org/people_and_land/families/5.htm
(Keepers of the keys of the Church of the Resurrection)

4)The Nuseibeh Family (moslem)
http://www.nuseibeh.org//history.htm
(Who certify the annual miracle of the Holy Fire)

^These are the custodians of the Church. It is not a "free for all" where anyone can do as they like, but there is a strict protocol to follow. The media always reports these incidents as though "everyone" has custody of the Church, when in fact, they don't (although, it seems, some like to behave as though they do).
Even the Patriarch of Jerusalem cannot enter the Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre for the Holy Fire ceremony without a Moslem opening the door for him, and a being searched by Jewish Israeli soldiers. Yet you never hear of trouble between the "Greeks" and the Jews or the "Greeks" and the Moslems or the "greeks" and the Roman Catholics at the Holy Sepulchre. The trouble is always between the "Greeks" and the Armenians (I put "Greeks" in inverted commas, because they consist of Palestinian as well as Greek and other ethnicities -including Americans and Australians-  under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.)  So why is it always the "Greeks" and Armenians who argue at the Holy Sepulchre?  Well, look at the list of custodians- which side of the argument isn't there?
The argument is not about "sharing", it's about protocol and respect.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 03:15:40 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2008, 08:01:06 AM »
Royal begavior aside, in other words, we should treat others as we would wish to be treated. If we wish our part in the protocol to be respected, we must respect the parts of it that belong to others? :)

Precisely. The Holy Sepulchre has four custodians:

1) The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem Patriarchate)
,
http://monastery.org/sephist.html
(Who are responsible for the tomb itself, as well as Golgotha)

2) The Fransciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Roman Catholic)

http://www.custodia.org/?page=splash
(Responsible for the Latin Chapel)

3) The Joudeh Family (Moslem) 

http://www.jerusalemites.org/people_and_land/families/5.htm
(Keepers of the keys of the Church of the Resurrection)

4)The Nuseibeh Family (moslem)
http://www.nuseibeh.org//history.htm
(Who certify the annual miracle of the Holy Fire)

^These are the custodians of the Church. It is not a "free for all" where anyone can do as they like, but there is a strict protocol to follow. The media always reports these incidents as though "everyone" has custody of the Church, when in fact, they don't (although, it seems, some like to behave as though they do).
Even the Patriarch of Jerusalem cannot enter the Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre for the Holy Fire ceremony without a Moslem opening the door for him, and a being searched by Jewish Israeli soldiers. Yet you never hear of trouble between the "Greeks" and the Jews or the "Greeks" and the Moslems or the "greeks" and the Roman Catholics at the Holy Sepulchre. The trouble is always between the "Greeks" and the Armenians (I put "Greeks" in inverted commas, because they consist of Palestinian as well as Greek and other ethnicities -including Americans and Australians-  under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.)  So why is it always the "Greeks" and Armenians who argue at the Holy Sepulchre?  Well, look at the list of custodians- which side of the argument isn't there?
The argument is not about "sharing", it's about protocol and respect.
Unless things have changed in the decade and a half since I was last there, you need not put "Greek" in commas: the Palestinians (read indigenous non-Greeks) aren't allowed to join the Brotherhood, aren't accepted for monastic vows, not elevated to the episcopacy (since Palestinians serve as bishops in the rest of the world under Antioch, it's not that qualified candidates aren't to be had).  The Greeks are also from Greece (or Cyprus, like Meletios I, II, IV depending on what throne, in addition to his native Cyprus, he was sitting on.  Palestine expelled him).  To be fair, many Armenians are from Lebanon.

The "protocol" is not from time immemorial.  At one point the Georgian Orthodox controlled and owned everything.  And there were others: the Nubian Orthodox once owend the Adam chapel under Golgotha.  Reading a guide on the set up of the Church, I still remember the profund sadness when I read the words "the extinct Nubian Orthodox Church..."

Which brings up another thing that bothers me  about the Greek "Brotherhood": it has a stranglehold on shrines, and is willing to let the Church die, I guess as it can function as a museum for foreignors. Clericalism at its worst, this tomb worship.  He is the God of the living, not the dead. The spiritual and physical needs of the faithful have been assisted by foreign Orthodox, and has so been for centuries.  Not by the patriarchate, which has rich holdings,etc. as mentioned above.  But that's for the visitors.  And the patriarchate as of late has decided to get into the jurisdiction race in the "diaspora," which is a bigger disgrace, as the Palestinians have to go to Antioch for their needs abroad (and in Palestine).
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 08:17:02 AM by ialmisry »
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Thomas

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2008, 11:13:23 AM »
Sadly , one of the blessings left us by the Ottoman Empire was the practices and protocols set up initially to allow access by all Christians to the Holy Sites.  One of the things that no one seems to mention is that is the protocol is not followed even once (such as the death of the entire delegation , as in the case of the Copts) then the other groups come in and take over that time or position resulting in the exclusion of that party from the protocol.  With each change a "legal" precedence is created thus weakening the  rights of access to the party who was not there to enforce their rights of access.The protocol often called the "status quo" has become a issue formenting  arguments rather than eliminating them as initially thought.The Israelis like the Turks before them do not wish to intervene (for whatever the reason good or bad) in the situation  and appearing to prefer one side over the other.

Thomas
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 11:16:38 AM by Thomas »
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Offline NorthernPines

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2008, 12:50:38 PM »
Well, I probably shouldn't jump in here, but after reading about this (I first saw it last night on CNN), they're doing exactly what I knew they would be, playing the blame game. "it's those Greeks"; "it's those Armenians"; "we have rights"; "no WE have rights"; "no, no, we have rights we MUST defend"; "well we wouldn't have rights we all must defend if it weren't for those Muslims"; "yeah, yeah, but really it's those Greeks/Armenians";....this whole thing makes me sad. What a way to represent Christ, at the place He was spit upon, mocked, tortured and died on a Cross, no less. And yet our monks are fighting over a procession? This is just childish behavior and it's time someone, anyone cracks down on this. We're talking about breaking canons and vows, here...not just finger pointing. Monks are called to live holy lives in peace with God, with themselves and with the world. My family is not Orthodox, and this simply reinforces their opposition to "Church people" even more. (and I don't blame them)

Last week there was a discussion about Evangelization in Orthodoxy...well here's why we don't evangelize we're all too busy fighting amongst ourselves....all sides absolutely positive that this is "THEIR" Church, and God is on "OUR side". Never does it cross their minds, that at any moment God could "raise up children from these stones" and give the kingdom to another people. The 'kingdom' in this case being the holiest place on earth, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I'm sorry, but we Orthodox do not deserve this Holy site, as all we ever do is fight and brawl over this (and other shrines). This big movement to give Hagia Sophia back to the Orthodox comes to mind....the moment we get that Church back (if indeed it ever happens), the next day we'll be fighting over that as well. Instead of bringing the Light of Christ to the world, we're bringing doubts....the "I thought monks were pacifists" comment seen on the news is a good example of how we are not representing Christ to the world. Again, at the very sight of the ultimate and most profound example of physical pacifism (and I'm sorry if this offends some people, but that is what it is, physical pacifism, but spiritual warfare) where Christ gave the ultimate example of love for humanity, we have a Vince McMahon/WWE worthy brawl over what, a procession? Even children who don't get to carry what they want during the Liturgy simply pout for a few moments, then get over it...what do adults do? We start throwing punches.



 I'm sure everyone involved will make excuses which is human nature, but the clip I saw on CNN it also appeared not just monks, but priests were also fighting. I bet the next day, these people held the body and blood of Christ in their hands at the Altar.

 It's a sad day when we as Orthodox just take this as "oh another fight in a Church in Israel, big surprise"....kind of attitude. I too wasn't "shocked" by it either, which is why I'm so distraught over this. We SHOULD be shocked, yet this is an every day occurance for us.

I'm certainly not free from spite, envy, jelousy and pride. I know it's something I struggle against every day, and I'll probably reap what I sow spiritually from this post, because I make it not in love but in anger. Anger that we're fighting amongst ourselves over who gets to walk on what side of the Church when the world is crying out for Christ, love, beauty, compassion . . . .

Lord have mercy on us all. Including and most especially me, for I admit I'm angry over this . . . . please pray that I not be angry...

again, Lord have mercy!

Offline NorthernPines

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2008, 01:09:16 PM »
After thinking about my post, I regret posting a "venting" session, and I ask for forgiveness for anyone I've offended. I should have merely said "Lord have mercy", but my own struggles caused me to do more.....I apologize, and would simply delete my post, but didn't feel that was appropriate. I simply gave a "gut reaction" to what I saw (even though I've seen it many times before). However not knowing all the "details" behind these things I should keep silent, and simply ask:

Lord have mercy on us your Church.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 01:12:57 PM by NorthernPines »

Offline MLPB

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2008, 01:26:51 PM »
Since it's apparently too much to ask that we don't fight in the name of Christ, perhaps we should just ask everyone to GROW UP

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2008, 02:53:50 PM »
There really needs to be a better set up for preventing fights like this from occuring.  There needs to be a group set up at each site to schedule the services and the times, to prevent this kind of thing from going on.  Its an embarrishment to all Christians.  Non-Christians must be laughing at us right n ow.
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2008, 03:19:37 PM »
Unless things have changed in the decade and a half since I was last there, you need not put "Greek" in commas: the Palestinians (read indigenous non-Greeks) aren't allowed to join the Brotherhood, aren't accepted for monastic vows, not elevated to the episcopacy (since Palestinians serve as bishops in the rest of the world under Antioch, it's not that qualified candidates aren't to be had).

There is one Palestinian bishop in the Brotherhood, Theodosios (Attallah Hanna) of Sebastia, who is the official spokesperson of the Patriarchate. Unfortunately, he is the exception. "There will never be a Palestinian Patriarch because the Greeks are chauvanist," was the response I got from one of the (Greek) bishops there when I asked him about it.

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2008, 03:22:40 PM »
Sadly , one of the blessings left us by the Ottoman Empire was the practices and protocols set up initially to allow access by all Christians to the Holy Sites. 

We can't blame the Ottomans for this. There would be no issue if the Christians all belonged to the One Church.
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Offline SolEX01

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2008, 03:24:07 PM »
All we can do is pray for calmer and wiser minds to prevail for anything else can and will be interpreted as inflammatory.   :-[  :'(

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2008, 04:34:34 PM »
1.  Who has custodial authority over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?  (I think Ozgeorge may have already answered this.)

2.  IF the custodial authorities have granted those outside of their circle (e.g., the Armenians) access privileges to the holy place, why are they not enforcing their rule, choosing instead to allow the Greeks to resist the Armenian presence there with fisticuffs?

3.  IF the custodial authorities have not granted the Armenians privilege of access to the shrine, why are the Armenians even there, asserting as a God-given right a privilege not granted to them by the custodial authorities?

4.  Assuming Question 3 is true, why do the Greeks think violence is the way to solve the problem of an illegal Armenian presence at the church?


Just a few rhetorical questions about the shenanigans that just transpired...
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Offline Myrrh23

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2008, 04:39:23 PM »
Non-Christians must be laughing at us right now.

Then non-Christians would be calling the pot black, since I'm sure they have little spats like this among their own Religious. ;)
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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2008, 05:05:48 PM »
3.  IF the custodial authorities have not granted the Armenians privilege of access to the shrine, why are the Armenians even there, asserting as a God-given right a privilege not granted to them by the custodial authorities?
The Armenians are not refused access to the Holy Sepulchre. The protocol is simply that a representative of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (the Custodians) must be present whenever anyone enters the Edicule.

why do the Greeks think violence is the way to solve the problem of an illegal Armenian presence at the church?
From the article:

"The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way, sparking the brawl."

""We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye. The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses."


Just a few rhetorical questions about the shenanigans that just transpired...
Rhetorical questions are fine, but being rhetorical does not mean that they cannot be responded to or answered. :)

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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2008, 05:25:47 PM »
3.  IF the custodial authorities have not granted the Armenians privilege of access to the shrine, why are the Armenians even there, asserting as a God-given right a privilege not granted to them by the custodial authorities?
The Armenians are not refused access to the Holy Sepulchre. The protocol is simply that a representative of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (the Custodians) must be present whenever anyone enters the Edicule.
Thanks for clarifying this point for me. :)

why do the Greeks think violence is the way to solve the problem of an illegal Armenian presence at the church?
From the article:

"The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way, sparking the brawl."

""We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye. The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses."

So, IF the protocol is that a representative of the Brotherhood must accompany anyone who wishes to enter the Edicule, and the Armenian monks refused to be accompanied in accordance with the protocol, then yes, the Armenians were wrong to be there unaccompanied and the protocol needed to be enforced.

Just a few rhetorical questions about the shenanigans that just transpired...
Rhetorical questions are fine, but being rhetorical does not mean that they cannot be responded to or answered. :)
Quite right.  I knew it was kinduva pipe dream on my part to expect that the questions would go unanswered. ;)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 05:28:42 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2008, 05:35:58 PM »
who wishes to enter the Edicule (to what does that proper noun apply?)
The "Edicule" is the Latin name for the Greek "Kouvouklion". It is the structure within the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) which houses the Tomb of Christ.
In this photo below, it is the smaller, darker building with the lamps hanging in front of it. The walls of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) are the large, white walls and dome around the Edicule.

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2008, 06:45:34 PM »
So, IF the protocol is

Peter and everyone,

The protocols which govern how things are managed at the Church of the Resurrection are based on the Status Quo established by a firman (Royal Decree) ratified in 1852. The Status Quo divided the various parts of the Church under the custodianship of the various factions, and decreed that some parts of the Church are "common ground", even though custodianship of it may belong to one particular faction. For example, the doors and window ledges of the Church are "common ground" under the Status Quo, yet, the key to the door of the Church is held by the Moslem Joudeh family, a member of which must bring the key twice a day to the Church, hand it to a member of the Moslem Nusseibeh family who will unlock the door at the beginning of the day and lock it at the end of the day. The family's rights to do this date back to Saladin in AD1192.
To give you an idea of how tense things are in the Status Quo, if you ever visit the Church of the Resurrection, you will see a wooden ladder on a window ledge above the main entrance door. This ladder has been there for at least 150 years, and has come to be called "The Immovable Ladder". Because the window ledges of the Church are common ground under the Status Quo, no one has dared to move the ladder for fear of upsetting others.
Here is a recent photo of the Immovable Ladder:



And here is a photo of it taken in 1890:


Under the Status Quo, an Ethiopian Monk sits on the roof of the Church on a chair to establish the Ethiopian Church's territory of the Church. In 2002, the monk moved his chair from it's agreed position under the Status Quo into the shade and this caused an incident which led to the hospitalization of 11 people!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 06:51:51 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Byzantine2008

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2008, 07:30:38 PM »

There is only one solution and that is the removal of all the groups and return of full control to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

That is precisely what the Greeks in Jerusalem are trying to accomplish through bribes to the Israelis and breaking the status quo rules.  

The Greeks know that when they step in the middle of an Armenian procession at a time when the Armenians have a right to be there, the Armenians have two choices under the status quo rules.  One choice is to aggressively assert their rights.  The other choice is to let go of their rights and just give everything over to the Greeks.  If the Armenians don't publicly and forcefully assert their rights, then under the status quo rules the Greeks have a right to the property.  The Greeks know this.  

The Greeks over the past couple of years have been relentlessly breaking the status quo, hoping the Armenians will not do what they are supposed to do in order to defend their rights.  It's getting tiresome.  This is partly so because the Armenians have tried to settle this peacefully with dialogue with the Greek Patriarch over there, only to be deliberately ignored and to see the violations of their rights continue.  This is also frustrating because the Israelis have been siding with the Greeks because the Greeks have given them land.  Another frustrating thing about this is the way the Greeks cry and make themselves out to be victims when it is they who are baiting the Armenians and giving the Armenians no choice but to deal with the violations the way they do.  

A friend of mine was in Jerusalem last Palm Sunday when the last outbreak happened.  He was there.  He said the Armenians were worshiping at a time and place inside the Tomb where they are allowed under the status quo rules.  As they were praying, a Greek monk came, and broke through the semi-circle of Armenian clergy, roughly and rudely shoving aside priests and deacons as he made his way inside the Tomb.  This was a deliberate provocation.  The Armenians asked him to leave and, when he refused, an Armenian deacon physically had to pick him up and carry him outside.  The deacon handed the Greek over to an Israeli guard who was outside the Tomb, but the guard refused to do anything about it.  The Greek monk went right back inside, again shoving and pushing Armenian clergy.  The deacon again carried the guy outside, and this time the Israeli guard responded by arresting some of the Armenians.  A large demonstration outside a government building resulted in the release of the Armenians, but the Greeks are still engaging in the same aggressive behavior.

They are trying to accomplish what Arimathea would like to see, which is the Greeks having exclusive control of the holy places in Jerusalem.  They don't want to share.  The Armenians, on the other hand, are willing to share.  We are not violating the rights of the Greeks and baiting them.  It is the Greeks who are doing this to the Armenians.  The Armenians know how to share.  That is something the Greeks need to learn how to do.



I understand that you are sympathetic to the Armenian cause but I think you have gone a little overboard by accusing the Greeks for always igniting the trouble. There are always two sides to the story and I dont believe for one moment that it is one sides fault over the other..

It takes two to tango and it is just a shame that it is the same ethnic groups battling each other.

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Offline Byzantine2008

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2008, 07:40:27 PM »
1.  Who has custodial authority over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?  (I think Ozgeorge may have already answered this.)

2.  IF the custodial authorities have granted those outside of their circle (e.g., the Armenians) access privileges to the holy place, why are they not enforcing their rule, choosing instead to allow the Greeks to resist the Armenian presence there with fisticuffs?

3.  IF the custodial authorities have not granted the Armenians privilege of access to the shrine, why are the Armenians even there, asserting as a God-given right a privilege not granted to them by the custodial authorities?

4.  Assuming Question 3 is true, why do the Greeks think violence is the way to solve the problem of an illegal Armenian presence at the church?


Just a few rhetorical questions about the shenanigans that just transpired...

In response to point 4 it is not just the Greeks but the armenians have instigated violence many a times.

This shouldn't be a bashing session against the Greeks but we should take this opportunity to reflect and pray that the [polemical adjective removed] armenians came back to the Mother Church.

Lord Have Mercy.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 08:27:26 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2008, 08:25:35 PM »
This shouldn't be a bashing session against the Greeks but we should take this opportunity to reflect and pray that the [polemical adjective removed]  armenians came back to the Mother Church.
Would you like to start a thread in the Private Forum (Eastern/Oriental Private Discussions) explaining why you think this is the solution?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 08:28:38 PM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2008, 08:41:43 PM »
Dumbest question in the world....   ::)

If the Ottoman Empire no longer exists, how can a firman from a defunct Empire be legally enforced?  Is there an International Treaty which incorporates but not merges the 1852 firman regarding the status quo?

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2008, 09:00:05 PM »
Dumbest question in the world....   ::)

If the Ottoman Empire no longer exists, how can a firman from a defunct Empire be legally enforced?  Is there an International Treaty which incorporates but not merges the 1852 firman regarding the status quo?

It's not a dumb question, it's a good one.
The firman is still enforceable because it is the only law which was instituted to govern how things were to be done at the Church of the Resurrection among the various stakeholders that was in fact legal when it was instituted. No modern body or group actually has the authority to override it. For example, how would the Christians get the keys to the Church off the Moslems who have held them for over 900 years? Which court would they appeal to? The Israeli's claim Jerusalem is their "eternal capital", yet this matter is disputed by the international community. All consulates and embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv (which the international communities recognise as the "official" capital of Israel). So to which court would the Christians appeal to get the keys? The Israeli Court?, The Palestinian Court? The Hague? No court would dare to claim juristiction over the Church of the Resurrection for fear of causing an International incident, therefore, the Status Quo remains.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2008, 09:12:13 PM »
The Armenians are not refused access to the Holy Sepulchre. The protocol is simply that a representative of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre (the Custodians) must be present whenever anyone enters the Edicule.



I am afraid this statement will lead to a misunderstanding of the situation.  The protocol explicitly lays out times when the Armenians are granted the right to an exclusive presence in the Tomb.  In other words, Muslims, Greeks, Catholics and others may not be there at that time unless invited by the Armenians.  There are likewise times laid out when the Jerusalem Greeks have the right to be there exclusively and times when the Catholics have the right to an exclusive presence.  The fact that the Jerusalem Greeks are custodians, does not change that.  The Armenians don't have to have a Greek present at those times, anymore than they have to have one of the Muslim custodians present.

The Jerusalem Greeks are trying to change that.  They want to obtain more control than they already have and change the rules so the Armenians can't be there unless there is a Jerusalem Greek present.  In the article cited above, the Jerusalem Greeks are claiming that they always had this right, but that is simply not the case.  They are lying.  Dishonest people often lie.  I hate breaking it to people, but that is how it is.  By interrupting the Armenians' services, they are trying to establish that right, and the Armenians are doing what they can to prevent it.  They have tried to dialogue with the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, but to no avail.  Under the status quo, if they just let it slide and do nothing, the Jerusalem Greeks win and get the control they want.

To those who say the Armenians should just give over this control to the Jerusalem Greeks, I say think about the consequences of this.  If the rules are changed so that the Armenians cannot hold a service in the Tomb unless a Greek is present, then the Jerusalem Greeks can stop the Armenians from ever holding a service there again, by just not showing up when it is time for the Armenians to pray there.

I'm sorry, but I am not willing to trust the Jerusalem Greeks to be honorable about this.  They are "Traditionalist" in the sense that they very openly consider us to be heretics and would like us to be gone from Jerusalem.  These are not ecumenists with good intentions.

How would the people here feel if the shoe were on the other foot?  Let's say the Armenians were trying to establish control and set things up so that Greeks couldn't worship at the Tomb without an Armenian present?  How would you feel if the Armenians were trying to get in a position to stop the Greeks from worshipping there by not showing up?  The fact is, the Armenians there are not trying to do this to the Greeks.  It is the Jerusalem Greeks who are trying to oust the Armenians.  

The Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem is His Beatitude Torkom Manoogian.  He used to be a bishop here in the U.S.  He has long had an ecumenical outlook and has particularly had an irenic approach to our EO brothers.  I get the feeling the same cannot be said about his Greek counterpart.  

As I already stated, the Armenians have tried to approach the Greek Patriarch diplomatically, so that they can sit down and talk about it.  The Greek Patriarch has refused.  If the Jerusalem Greeks were really just trying to uphold an already existing rule and the Armenians were the ones violating the rule, the Greeks would want to have the talks.  They however don't.  There is a reason for that.  They are the aggressors who are violating the rules and trying to take over.

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2008, 09:13:55 PM »
It's not a dumb question, it's a good one.

Plus an intractable one for no answer exists.

The firman is still enforceable because it is the only law which was instituted to govern how things were to be done at the Church of the Resurrection among the various stakeholders that was in fact legal when it was instituted. No modern body or group actually has the authority to override it.

In 1852, the Ottomans could enforce it.  When they stopped existing in 1924, anything that they legislated should have been declared null and void including the firman.  Between 1924 and 1948, some government had to exist in Jerusalem if not the British themselves.  As an analogy, anything pertaining to the Czars was declared null and void after 1917.

For example, how would the Christians get the keys to the Church off the Moslems who have held them for over 900 years?

Another dumb answer, make both families an offer they can't refuse and negotiate the transaction like a regular real estate purchase anywhere else in the world, yes, including Israel.  I wouldn't blame the previous Patriarch of Jerusalem if he was trying to sell land to raise funds for such a deal.  The Israelis don't care; not their problem; not part of the solution; However, if Rome, EP, The Archons, Armenians and anyone else can buy off the key holding Muslims, may the Holy Spirit guide them.   8)

Which court would they appeal to? The Israeli's claim Jerusalem is their "eternal capital", yet this matter is disputed by the international community. All consulates and embassies to Israel are located in Tel Aviv (which the international communities recognise as the "official" capital of Israel). So to which court would the Christians appeal to get the keys? The Israeli Court?, The Palestinian Court? The Hague? No court would dare to claim juristiction over the Church of the Resurrection for fear of causing an International incident, therefore, the Status Quo remains.

As a dangerous and ominous situation since the only solution can come from man and not from a religious/legal/political body.  What a shame.   :'(  :-[
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 09:17:06 PM by SolEX01 »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Monks Brawl At Christian Holy Site In Jerusalem
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2008, 09:15:06 PM »
 The protocol explicitly lays out times when the Armenians are granted the right to an exclusive presence in the Tomb.
Where? As far as I know, the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre must be present whenever anyone enters. Much like a sacristan or economos is present to ensure no one steals relics or icons from a Church. This is the role of a Custodian.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 09:16:40 PM by ozgeorge »
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