- Title: WEST BANK: Custodian of the Holy Land launches Christmas season in Bethlehem
- Date: 30th November 2013
- Summary: PALESTINIAN OFFICIALS WAITING FOR ARRIVAL OF THE CUSTODIAN OF THE HOLY LAND CUSTODIAN OF THE HOLY LAND, FATHER PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA, ARRIVING IN BETHLEHEM TO LAUNCH THE CHRISTMAS SEASON CUSTODIAN SHAKING HANDS WITH PALESTINIAN OFFICIALS STUDENTS DURING CEREMONY VARIOUS OF CUSTODIAN OF THE HOLY LAND ENTERING CHURCH OF NATIVITY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESIDENT OF BETHLEHEM, MIKE SALMAN, SAYING: "This visit is to announce the beginning of Advent, and the start of the celebrations of Christmas in Jesus's birthplace of Bethlehem." VARIOUS OF WORKER PUTTING ORNAMENTS ON CHRISTMAS TREE NEXT TO NATIVITY CHURCH
- Embargoed: 15th December 2013 12:00
- Location: West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: General,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVADTUYEHXQ1UD1KXQ2IBAJ7ANI1
- Story Text: Scores of Christian worshippers and scouts on Saturday (November 30) welcomed the Custodian of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and other senior priests on their arrival in Bethlehem. The West Bank town is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.
Pizzaballa's arrival in the biblical town marks the beginning of the festive season of Advent, when millions of Christians around the world make their preparations for Christmas.
"This visit is to announce the beginning of Advent, and the start of the celebrations of Christmas in Jesus's birthplace of Bethlehem," said Bethlehem resident Mike Salman.
Colourful flags decorated Manger Square outside the Church of Nativity and a marching band played as high ranking religious clerics arrived in the town.
Three Christian denominations - the Armenians, Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox - share control of the church in the West Bank town.
The Custodian of the Holy Land is the Pope's envoy to the Middle East. He is the major superior of the friars in the Palestinian territories, as well as in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus and Rhodes.
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