The ladder under the window to the right at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher tells a story illustrative that even religious orders do not escape vanity, pride and envy.
From its earliest days, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher has been fought bitterly over by all the various sects of Christianity. The care over the church is shared by six denominations: the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Roman catholic church, with lesser duties shared by the Copts, Ethiopians and Syrians.
The whole place is carefully parceled into sections, some being commonly shared while others belonging strictly to a particular sect. A set of complicated rules governs the transit rights of the other groups through each particular section on any given day, and especially during the holidays. Some of the sections of the church however still remain hotly disputed to this day.
Arguments and violent clashes are common. A few years ago, a fight broke out between some monks. One Coptic monk constantly sits on a chair placed on a particular spot to express a claim they have to a small section of the roof of the church. One hot summer, day he moved his chair a few inches into the shade. This was interpreted as a hostile act. 11 were hospitalized.
This situation makes any agreement about renovations on the church impossible. As a result, it’s in a state of decay. Some engineers have stated it’s unsafe to enter the structure, yet hundreds or thousands of pilgrims do so every day.
The ladder you see is a bizarre outcome of stubbornness pushed to extremes. A couple hundred years ago, someone placed a ladder where you see it now. No one is sure who he was, or to which sect he belonged. The ladder remains there to this date. Popes have gotten involved, but there it sits. Someone tried to swipe it once, but the police grabbed it and put it back. One morning, it mysteriously showed up missing, due to an apparent prank. Tensions mounted for a few days until it, just as mysteriously re-appeared, a testament to human folly.