But there’s one dispute between the Coptic and Ethiopian churches that has not waned and once again reared its head last week. The incident involved the forcible dispersal by the Israel Police of a quiet protest by a few Coptic monks, who were objecting to renovations by the Israel Antiquities Authority at St. Michael’s, a chapel at the Holy Sepulchre. The Copts regard the structure as belonging to them, and even though they haven’t had the keys to it for nearly 50 years, they insisted on playing a part in the renovations. The state decided to undertake the work on its own, however, and ran into opposition.This is not the first such confrontation at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Holy Sepulchre). I noted another one involving the police back in 2004. It sounds as though the Coptic (and Ethiopic?) Church(es) and the IAA and have reached agreement on undertaking the needed repairs. But there is at least talk of further legal action. I hope all parties are able to reach an understanding without it coming to that.
This article gives detailed background on the relationship between the two churches and their connection with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is complicated.
Cross-file under Coptic Watch and Ethiopic Watch.
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