10 January 2018

The Orthodox celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem

On January 6, in Bethlehem, Christmas celebrations began according to the Eastern calendar, with the entry of the Greek, the Orthodox, the Syriac, the Coptic and the Ethiopian Churches.

Actuality and events

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The first weekend of 2018, the celebrations of the Lord's Christmas continued in Bethlehem, where the Orthodox, who follow the Eastern calendar, celebrated the birth of Christ! The city has therefore welcomed the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, the Syriac, the Coptic and the Ethiopian churches.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Archbishop Mar Suerius Melki Murad, Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the Holy Land and in Jordan, made his entrance at the Nativity Square.

Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Orthodox Church - Holy Land and Jordan
"The message of Christ is a message of love, peace and justice. Jesus brought us joy, He saved us from our sins, from the sin of Adam and Eve, from death, giving us a new life. I hope that Christmas will bring a new journey for Palestine and for the Holy Land ".

Later, the procession led by the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, Anba Antonius, was welcomed in Bethlehem. After the official greetings, the Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem entered the Basilica of the Nativity.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Theophilus III, arrived in Bethlehem among the protests of the faithful, unhappy with his work. Lastly, the faithful witnessed the entrance of the Ethiopian archbishop, Aba Embakob, accompanied by the consul of Ethiopia and various parishioners.

For local Christians and pilgrims, it was a new opportunity to renew hope and to pray for peace!

Nadia Tanas
Christian woman from Bethlehem
"I like coming here and taking part in the Christmas celebrations that are held here every year. I hope peace will prevail in the Arab nations and that one day we will be able to live in stability, love and peace with everyone, because, ever since my childhood, I have only heard about wars and problems.”

Nicole Al-Hihi
Pilgrim - Finland
"I came from Finland to visit Bethlehem and to take part in the Christmas festivities. I came with my family, with my mother and with my brothers.”

From the Vatican, Pope Francis sent his [Christmas] wishes to the Orthodox churches. He expressed hope that "this celebration will be a source of new spiritual vigor and communion among all Christians, who recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior".