Renovating ‘The Manger’

manger

AS visitors descend upon Bethlehem this holiday season, they will notice a different look for the Church of the Nativity. Wrapped in scaffolding, the basilica located at the traditional site of Jesus’ birth is undergoing a much-needed facelift after 600 years.

Experts say that water is leaking from the rooftop and threatens to cause serious damage to mosaics and other priceless items.

Project manager Afif Tweme said the first stage of the project began in September and is addressing the most pressing issues: the rooftop and windows.

“The water also has a bad effect on the plastering surfaces, on the mosaics, on the floors, on the frescoes. It could damage any, any historical elements inside the church,” said Tweme, who works for the “Community Development Group,” a Palestinian engineering consulting firm.

The companies carrying out the works are obliged to minimize any disruptions to visitors and make sure that pilgrims can “pass freely inside the church and safely,” he added.

The church is one of Christianity’s most visited and sacred shrines. Standing above the grotto where, according to tradition, Jesus was born, the church attracted more than 2 million visitors last year.

Both the World Monuments Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit group dedicated to protecting historic sites, and the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO have placed the church on their lists of endangered sites. And a high-tech survey by a consortium of Italian experts in 2011 called for urgent repairs.

The city of Bethlehem is situated in a part of the West Bank where the Palestinians have self-rule. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has taken the lead and is financing a great portion of the works, said Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser on Christian affairs to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/bethlehem-church-of-the-nativity_n_4432606.html#slide=3220629

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5 thoughts on “Renovating ‘The Manger’

  1. I wonder why we admire these places. Christ no longer lives in there, just another old building. But we seems to spend more time in the past than in the present. Christ is now, in the moment of now. The past is no longer with us, it is just a memory.

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    • I think in the same way that we like to see where our parents came from. My father and his family no longer live in Malta but I still wanted to see where their old house was. I wanted to see where they walked, and went to school etc.

      I would love to be able to walk the same roads that Jesus may have walked. I know that it is more important to follow his footsteps in life, but I’d still love to go to these ancient places. Be transported back in time.

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