Thursday, December 21, 2006

Monks Gone Wild

Rival groups fight for control of Greek sanctuary

THESSALONIKI, GREECE — Rival groups of monks wielding crowbars and sledgehammers clashed Wednesday over control of a 1,000-year-old monastery in a community regarded as the cradle of Orthodox Christianity, police said.

Seven monks were injured and taken by boat to receive medical treatment.

Esphigmenou monastery is the scene of a long-running dispute between Orthodox Church authorities and rebel monks who occupy the site.

The rebel monks vehemently oppose efforts to improve relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican.

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