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Monks gone wild at Church of Nativity (VIDEO)

Monks brawl, monk-style, at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.
Monks fight church of nativity bethlehem 2011 12 28Enlarge
Monks behave appropriately at the Church of the Nativity on Dec. 22, 2011 in Bethlehem, West Bank. (Uriel Sinai/AFP/Getty Images)

It took a cadre of police to separate brawling monks who clashed with broomsticks inside the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, one of Christianity's holiest places, on Wednesday.

The monks had been cleaning the church at the time, an annual tradition — hence the brooms. The church is shared among Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Armenians. According to the Associated Press, the dispute began because one group accused another of infringing on the other's space inside the church.

From the AP:

A fragile status quo governs relations among the denominations at the ancient church, and to repair or clean a part of the structure is to own it, according to accepted practice. That means that letting other sects clean part of the church could allow one to gain ground at another's expense. Similar fights have taken place during the same late-December cleaning effort in the past.

Monks fighting inside a church is quite a spectacle. Fortunately for all of us, there's video:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/monks-gone-wild-at-church-nativity-video