“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

In photos: Christmas Controversy in Bethlehem

Ma’an News Agency
1-5
Fanfare welcomes Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Mar Sweirios Malki Murad and Coptic Archbishop Abraham to the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Wednesday. Eastern churches celebrate according to the Georgian calendar, two weeks after Western denominations. Orthodox make up the largest denomination of Palestine’s Christian minority.

Click here to view the photos

6-8 Priests and a few remaining loyalists await the annual arrival of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III outside the Nativity Church. Prominent Christian figures refused to welcome him, however, holding banners condemning alleged leases of church land to Israeli developers for the construction of new settlements. Silence filled the square as scouts packed up their drums and bagpipes.

Click here to view the photos

9-11 A cordon of Palestinian Authority riot police link hands to form a human barricade between protesters along the patriarch’s route. The PA had earlier refused church requests to prevent his entry to Bethlehem by force. The Council of Arab Orthodox Institutions had also asked the Ramallah-based government to intervene and nullify the land sales, which the PA views as an internal church matter.

Click here to view the photos

12-18 Amid protests, the patriarch arrives. A car from the his office blasts electronic Christmas music, drowning out the boos of several hundred demonstrators who shout and wave signs condemning Theophilos. “The Holy Land is not for Sale or Lease,” one banner reads; “Theophilos = Irenais” says another, likening the patriarch to the sacked leader he replaced in 2005 amid similar allegations.

Click here to view the photos

2010-01-08T16:22:33+00:00 January 8th, 2010|Categories: News|