And here some calm was achieved in a region not famous for calm, until 1852, when a “firman” (or edict) was issued by Abdulmecit I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and Caliph of the Muslim World. Abdulmecit issued this edict because…well, because first, in 1847 some thug stole the silver star which marked the “traditional” spot of Jesus’ birth, in the floor of the Church of the Nativity, and, more importantly, because the Sultan was weak and because Louis Napoleon III of France was a pompous political hack, who believed that he had been chosen by God to fix, first France, and then rest of the world.
But, let us finally return to the Church of the Nativity on December 27, 2007. According to the Associated Press; “Yesterday, dozens of priests and cleaners came to the fortress-like church to scrub and sweep the floors, walls and rafters ahead of the Armenian and Orthodox Christmas, celebrated in the first week of January. Thousands of tourists visited the church this week for (Catholic) Christmas celebrations. But the clean-up turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful stepped inside the Armenian church's section, touching off a scuffle between about 50 Greek Orthodox and 30 Armenians. Palestinian police, armed with batons and shields, quickly formed a human cordon to separate the two sides so the cleaning could continue...Four people, some with blood running from their faces, were slightly injured.”
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