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Rival clergy brawl in Bethlehem church

Dec. 28, 2011 at 3:43 PM

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Dozens of priests and monks went at it with fists and broomsticks Wednesday in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity in the West Bank, police said.

The brief brouhaha broke out while about 100 Greek Orthodox and Armenian clergy were taking part in the annual Christmas cleanup at the 6th century holy site, The Daily Telegraph reported. Palestinian police were called in to restore order, the British newspaper said.

"No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God," Bethlehem police Lt. Col. Khaled al-Tamimi said.

The church, which is jointly administered by the Latin, Orthodox and Armenian churches, is spruced up every year between the Latin Christmas and early January, when the Orthodox sects celebrate Christmas.

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