June 5, 2021

A Guardian of the Holy Sepulchre Testifies Against the Enemies of the Miracle of the Holy Light

In 2018, when there were many media reports out of Jerusalem and Greece with accusations that the annual miracle of the Holy Light of Jerusalem is a hoax, Monk Theodoulos, a former monk of Saint Katherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai, who then became the morning guardian of the Tomb of Christ in the Holy Sepulchre, gave the following interview. Here he responds to the accusations of Bishop Samuel, Abbot of the Armenian brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, who called the miracle a hoax, and started the media storm. Monk Theodoulos reveals the hoax behind the accusations of the Armenian abbot.

According to Monk Theodoulos, Bishop Samuel was trying to film an interview for television on the Holy Sepulchre, but Monk Theodoulos informed him that filming is prohibited unless he has permission from the three Patriarchates of Jerusalem - the Greek, the Armenian and the Coptic. Bishop Samuel assured him he had the permission, when in fact he did not, but Monk Theodoulos believed him and allowed the filming. Therefore, to get the permission to film the interview, the Armenian Bishop lied and deceived.

When filming began, the Armenian Bishop began his blasphemous tirade. Monk Theodoulos, who was guarding the Holy Tomb at the time, heard this interview, and intervened, grieved by what he heard the heretical bishop saying on his watch within the sacred space itself. While Bishop Samuel was trying to say that he had attempted to see the miracle of the Holy Light three times but was unable to, Monk Theodoulos explained that he is not allowed to see the miracle because he is not the Orthodox Patriarch who alone is allowed to enter the Holy Tomb while the Armenian Bishop is allowed only to stand outside in the Chapel of the Angel.

As to why the Armenian Bishop decided to come out and speak blasphemously against the Holy Light, Monk Theodoulos explains from his own experience as part of the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and the primary guardian of the Tomb of Christ, that the Armenian brotherhood has long held the Orthodox in contempt out of jealousy that the Orthodox get the spotlight within the Holy Sepulchre while they feel pushed to the background. They also don't like the fact that the Orthodox confess the miracle of the Holy Light can only be accomplished by the Orthodox Patriarch, and diminish the Armenians to having nothing to do with the miracle. The Armenians want the Holy Sepulchre under their authority, and whatever the Orthodox confess they sweep under the rug in order to diminish their standing as the true Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre. This is why the Armenian Bishop spreads lies against the miracle of the Holy Light.

Monk Theodoulos gives also the following example of how the Armenians always seek to oppose the Orthodox within the Holy Sepulchre. A few months prior to this interview, Monk Theodoulos went into the Holy Tomb to clean after hours when the church was shut. As the Guardian of the Holy Sepulchre, he can come and go as he wishes, and needs no permission to do so. As he did this, two Armenian monks came and started yelling at him to come out. He informed them of his position and his right to be there, but they forced themselves into the Tomb of Christ, and for a period of ten to fifteen minutes they tried to physically force him outside, leaving him many bruises. One Armenian monk tried to strike him three times, but the Armenian monk for some reason was unable to fully strike him, as if something was holding him back. The two Armenian monks then attempted to strangle Monk Theodoulos inside the All-Holy Tomb. All the while, the two monks were swearing at him and calling him the worst names imaginable, accusing him of horrible things, despite being in such a sacred place. Monk Theodoulos meanwhile did not resist the violent monks, but accepted the beating, not returning evil for evil, nor responding to their accusations, but only protecting himself and telling them to stop. Monk Theodoulos survived the beating, and went to the police station where he filed a report against the monks.

With this, Monk Theodoulos asks, how can the Armenians expect to see the miracle of the Holy Light when they have such hostility in their hearts and violent behavior?

Monk Theodoulos gives another example of the hostilities of the Armenians against the Orthodox. In 2016, on Holy Saturday, after the Orthodox ceremony of the Holy Light, when the Copts and Armenians have their own ceremony at the Holy Sepulchre, according to proper protocol going back centuries, the Orthodox guardian then enters the tomb and resumes his position. This particular year, it was Monk Juvenaly, while Monk Theodoulos was outside. Suddenly Monk Theodoulos looks over, and he sees ten Armenian monks taking turns kicking Monk Juvenaly like a soccer ball while he was on the ground, and in the presence of the police, who did nothing. The Orthodox submitted a police report, but the police did not pursue the matter.

Monk Theodoulos wants people to understand that the Armenians at the Holy Sepulchre are violent and spiteful, while the Orthodox always try to maintain peace within the sacred space, but they make it impossible and now they want to go after the Orthodox by saying the Holy Light is a hoax, with the media jumping on the bandwagon and Orthodox accepting the lies as if they are true. He wants the Orthodox to know what the sources of these lies are really like.