Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity Reopens after Coronavirus Lockdown

The Church of the Nativity reopens after the coronavirus lockdown. (Photo: via AJE)

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, built on the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, reopened on Tuesday, more than two months after closing in the face of the coronavirus.

A handful of priests from different Christian denominations stood to watch as the door to the church in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was opened, an AFP photographer reported.

Once inside, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, Bishop Theophylactos, kissed an icon while a priest sprayed holy water in the grotto of the church, where Christians believe Christ was born in a manger.

The church had been closed since March 5 when an outbreak of COVID-19 was detected in Bethlehem.
Initially only 50 people will be allowed in the church at one time and visitors must wear face coverings and observe social distancing, a joint statement from the churches that control the site said.

On Monday, Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced an end to the lockdown.

(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)

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