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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsAncient Church in Bethlehem to be Renovated

Ancient Church in Bethlehem to be Renovated

After centuries of decay, the 1.500-year-old Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem will be finally renovated.

The renovation plan was an initiative taken by the Palestinian government in the West Bank and is expected to start next year. If so, it will be the first time the Church sees renovation work in more than 150 years.

Top priority of the renovation is replacing the Church’s basilica, which is a danger to visitors and its leaking has caused severe damage to priceless interior paintings and mosaics.

The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world and is administered jointly by Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodoxs and Armenian Apostolic authorities. The year-long suspicion between the three sects has led to the postponement of any restoration until now.

The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, and thus it is considered sacred by Christians. Therefore, the Western-backed government of the Palestinians that wields limited control in the West Bank under Israel’s overall control, is promoting the renovation of the church, which is a premier tourist attraction, with 2 million foreign visitors last year.

Palestine is also hoping for UNESCO to recognize the Church as a world heritage site.

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