Church officials: Holy Sepulchre to remain closed

Leaders of the two largest Christian sects in Jerusalem say the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, will remain closed indefinitely to protest an Israeli attempt to tax their properties in the holy city.

The protest has shuttered one of Jerusalem's most venerable and popular holy sites.

Both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic representatives said they were blindsided by the decision and accused Jerusalem's mayor, Nir Barkat, of disrupting a longstanding status quo.

"They are serious," said Anna Koulouris, a spokeswoman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. "They really want to see something change before they think about reopening the doors."

Barkat's office says the order doesn't apply to churches. But he says "commercial buildings" should not be exempt, regardless of ownership.