At least temporarily, the most talked about subject in Yerevan has changed from the Karabagh negotiations to the melee in the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Shocked by it all, relatives and friends in the US are writing, sad that such an event, with Armenians involved, has been broadcast on various world news networks, making Armenians and Greeks appear more like brawlers than people from civilized countries, least of all Christians.
Here, all sorts of opinions are being heard — for one, comedian-actor Vardan Petrosyan saying that the behavior shown isn’t Christian at all, that patience is the way for a true Christian to act. One Armenian priest said that the Greeks had set the whole thing up, giving narcotics to various hoodlums in order to start a problem with the Armenians, who were only going about a service at their appointed time and place in the Holy Sepulcher. Another priest said that it was strange that so many policemen were on the scene, making it seem that everything was planned in advance…in his opinion, the trouble was started so that one or both sides would have to pay bribes to higher-ups in Jerusalem just in order to keep their rights in the church, handed down over the centuries.
I remembered my stay there in 1984, when one day several deacons, myself included, with baseball bats or various pieces of wood in our boots, under our robes, headed out to the Holy Sepulcher, expecting problems during Holy Week from none other than the Greeks.