Today, Saturday, the city of Bethlehem witnessed the beginning of the celebrations of the Christian churches, which follow the Western calendar of Christmas, and pictures and videos obtained by CNN showed Christian pilgrims entering the Church of the Nativity in the city of Bethlehem, and scouts celebrating the birthday of Christ in the streets of the city.
According to the Palestinian news agency “Wafa”, the convoy of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Jordan and all the Holy Land, Pierre Battista Pizzaballa, arrived in Bethlehem today, Saturday, marking the start of the celebrations.
The patriarchal procession set off from the office of the Latin Patriarchate in East Jerusalem, towards the city of Bethlehem, to the square of Deir Mar Elias, where he was received.
And at the sound of the bells of the Church of the Nativity, the Patriarch, accompanied by his recipients, advanced to the court of the Church of the Nativity, led by priests, deacons and priests from the Seminary Institute of Beit Jala, where he was bid farewell by his recipients and then entered the church, and was received by the head of the Latin Monastery, then he presided over a special mass in preparation for the middle Mass. Saturday night, which will be chaired by Patriarch Pizzaballa, in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “Abu Mazen” and a number of senior Palestinian officials, according to the official Palestinian news agency “Wafa”.
This year’s Christmas message bears the title: “The spirit of Christmas brings us together,” and that Bethlehem and the Holy Land are in dire need of the blessing of peace. The Mayor of Bethlehem, Hanna Hananina, said that Bethlehem sent its message to the whole world that the spirit of Christmas brings us together and unites us, despite all the difficulties that the cradle of Christ is going through.
And the city of Bethlehem, its new dress, marked the start of the celebrations, through the manifestations of decorations that were manifested in their best forms in Manger Square, its streets, and its various neighborhoods.
Since the hours of Saturday morning, police have been deployed at crossroads and on the main streets through which official processions and the Patriarch’s convoy will pass. The Director General of Police in Bethlehem Governorate, Brigadier General Thabet Al-Saadi, announced that 700 officers and non-commissioned officers, 46 vehicles, 17 bicycles, and three winches were deployed in order to secure the celebrations, along with members of the support forces from the various security services.