The project involves as well the restoration of the stained glass windows which in the course of time have suffered severe deterioration. The total cost exceed two million euros, an amount of which 50 % are secured by Palestinian sources, and the remainder by certain States, such as the Vatican, Hungary, France, Russia and Greece. The firm in charge of the works has received support along the different stages by the Italian Consulate General in Jerusalem, which has followed day by day the progress of the works.
The agreement was reached by the representatives of the three Christian religions in charge of the Basilica, after the signature of the statu quo. Catholics were represented by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
The meeting was attended, among others, by the Palestinian Prime Minister,Rami Hamdallah, the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem, Msgr Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, Msgr William Shomali, the Italian Consul, the Russian Consul, the Ministers of Tourism and of Finance of the Palestinian Authority, the Governor and the Mayor of Bethlehem.
The restoration works of the roof of the Basilica cannot any longer be postponed, considering the urgent need to act since a long time. Because of the roof structure, now in shabby condition, the rainfall has brought about flooding which has jeopardized, and is still, the ancient floor. The restoration works should start in the forthcoming weeks.
In June of last year, the Church of the Nativity was registered as a UNESCO’s World Heritage. And together with the Basilicas of the Annunciation of Nazareth and of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Basilica of the Nativity is one of the main and basic areas of pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
By: Nicola Scopelliti