Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem arrives in Bethlehem

STORY: Worshippers and pilgrims gathered outside the church, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and enjoyed marching bands and a festive atmosphere while awaiting the patriarch's arrival. The Patriarch was greeted by religious clergy and Palestinian officials.

“This is a message of Jesus because when he was born in Bethlehem, he spread peace and love to all the nations,” said priest Essa Thaljeya. “And this is our message, to live this true love and to live in our Palestinian cities with security, peace, and love, and to live like the rest of the world without restrictions and occupation, with freedom to the prisoners and people who live in injustice.”

Annually and around the first week of January each year, the city of Bethlehem welcomes worshippers and pilgrims from around the world who follow the eastern calendar to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem.