Palestinian Christians on Saturday performed prayers and celebrated the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Latin Monastery Church in Gaza City.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa was present at the ceremony, which attracted many Palestinian Christian families.
The event was particularly exciting for Gaza’s children, who wore special holiday clothes, Papa Noel hats and took part in the mass singing.
The number of Christian inhabitants of Palestine has dropped by nearly 10-fold in the last 70 years. A population census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017 concluded that 47,000 Palestinian Christians are living in Palestine – with reference to the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
“Palestine’s Christian population is dwindling at an alarming rate. The world’s most ancient Christian community is moving elsewhere. And the reason for this is Israel,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud wrote in a recent article.
“Israel must not be allowed to ostracize the world’s most ancient Christian community from their ancestral land so that it may score a few points in its fierce drive for racial supremacy,” Baroud added.
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)