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A NOTE ABOUT THE EVENTS OF SEPT. 27TH, IN THE HOLY SEPULCHRE BASILICA

Date: 27.09.2003
Source: Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land

On the 27th of September, 2004, at approximately 11:15 a.m. dozens of Greek Monks attacked Franciscan Friars and their personnel and the Israeli Police who were trying to defend them.

The facts occurred during the Greek Orthodox procession of the Feast of the Holy Cross in which the Greek Patriarch Irineos ordered the Franciscans to close the bronze door of their Chapel of the Apparition, also known as the blessed Sacrament Chapel. Since the Greek Patriarch has no right to make such a demand, the Franciscan representative refused to do it.

The Greek Patriarch then sent his personal bodyguard and some Greek monks to close the Chapel. In the meantime he halted the procession in the Franciscan Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. When his bodyguard and his other representatives attempted by force to close the Chapel of the Apparition, the Israeli police intervened and formed a cordon in front of the Chapel, thereby trying to prevent further violence. After a short standoff between Israeli police and Greek Monks, the Greek Monks, many of whom were in liturgical vestments, savagely attacked the police and attempted to enter by force the Franciscan Chapel of the Apparition in order to close it. The fight lasted about 30 minutes. One Franciscan friar was beaten and kicked by Greek monks and lay people, and several police officers were moderately injured.

The Police called in reinforcements, and the Police Commander of the Old City, Col. Nisso Shacham came to scene. Only then were the Greeks forced away from the Chapel of the Apparition. Several Greek monks were arrested by the Police.

The Greek attack was unprovoked and without any real reason. Government representatives had in the previous days formally asked the Franciscans to allow the Greeks to pass through the northern section of the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. The reason for this request was ostensibly to keep the peace, and to avoid violence in the Basilica. There was tension because the Greeks were going to attempt, against the prevailing Status quo, to pass through the northern section of the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. Notwithstanding the concession made by the Franciscans to representatives of the Israeli government, to allow the Greek Procession to pass, the Greek Monks carried out this attack.


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Created / Updated Friday, 8 October, 2004 at 8:26:39 am by J. Abela, E.Alliata, E. Bermejo
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