Dozens of Palestinian Christians booed their religious leader during a procession in the biblical town of Bethlehem marking Greek Orthodox Christmas.
The protesters accuse Patriarch Theofilos of selling church lands to Israelis.
Tuesday’s protest was peaceful. But about two dozen Palestinian policemen wearing helmets surrounded the protesters, who held signs reading, “the Holy Land is not for sale.”
It was the first time police have been called in for Christmas celebrations, although relations have been tense for decades between the church and its Palestinian followers. They accuse their religious leadership of shady land deals with Israeli developers.
Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.