Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

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Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:17 am


a restoration expert works on a mosaic inside the Church of the Nativity

After two years of painstaking work, experts have completed the initial phase of a delicate restoration project at the Church of the Nativity, giving a much-needed face-lift to one of Christianity's holiest sites.

The project, partially funded by the Palestinians and conducted by a team of Palestinian and international experts, is the biggest restoration at the iconic church in some 600 years. The removal of centuries of dust has left Crusader-era mosaics sparkling in sunlight filtering through brand new windows. Structural repairs on the fragile rooftop and windows have been completed and art treasures have been returned to their delicate elegance.

Although the Palestinians are overwhelmingly Muslim, they consider the church a national treasure and one of their most visited tourist sites, and President Mahmoud Abbas has been actively involved in the project.

Ziad al-Bandak, who leads the Palestinian committee in charge of the restoration, calls what has been accomplished so far nothing short of "revolutionary."

"For the first time you can see, when you go up, mosaics really magnificent and beautiful and unique in the whole world," he said.

The Church of the Nativity, located in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem, was built by Saint Helena in the 4th century over the grotto where the Virgin Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus.

Despite its spiritual significance, the church was neglected for centuries and is listed as endangered by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency. Until two years ago, rain leaked through the severely damaged rooftop, threatening to harm priceless artworks inside.

Then, in 2013, the Palestinian Authority, the internationally backed self-rule government, took the lead in financing the restoration. The rest has come from the Palestinian private sector, the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches and other countries. Al-Bandak said nearly $8 million has already been spent.

The renovation is being conducted by a joint team of engineers, restoration experts and workers — Palestinians as well as Italians from "Piacenti," a firm which specializes in the renovation of historical sites and has worked on dozens of villas, palaces, churches and monasteries in Italy and Russia.

Over the past two years, specialists have replaced the most damaged of the ancient wood beams of the rooftop and put up a new cover. They also installed new wooden framed windows that prevent water infiltration. For the first time in almost 1,000 years the thousands of fine mosaics' tiles have been retouched.

Mimmo Nucatolo, who heads the Italian team restoring the mosaics, called the gold, green and pastel artworks "a unique example" made by skilled mosaicists at the end of the Crusader period. But he said that after centuries of neglect, the mosaics were in such a bad state that they almost disappeared from sight.

"From underneath you could no longer see the colors, so much so that some people were wondering 'Do we really have mosaics in this church?'" Nucatolo said.

While experts are still carrying out work 10 meters (32 feet) above ground, visitors and pilgrims will have to wait until the end of 2016 before being able to admire the winged creatures and brightly colored mosaics that have been brought back to rare brilliance.

After completing the mosaics in the central nave specialists are now renovating those in other areas of the church, working on wall plastering, restoring the external stone facade and repairing the wooden beams.

The metal scaffolding will only be removed after these steps are completed, said Afif Tweme, the restoration's project manager. He said he hopes this will be done by the end of the year.

The plan is also to install a microclimate system to control sunlight, temperature and humidity in the church, as well as new lights and a smoke detection system, Tweme said.

The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches share ownership of the church, and run it according to a 19th-century agreement that assigns responsibilities for upkeep that are jealously guarded by each denomination.
The churches have traditionally viewed each other with suspicion and have had fraught relations. But al-Bandak said they have all been "very cooperative" throughout the restoration, even allowing access to the church in the dead of night to facilitate the work of experts.

The full restoration will continue in phases and is expected to take at least another three years.

Additional projects will include work on stone capitals and columns as well as on the ancient floor mosaics currently covered by stone flooring.

The work will depend on the availability of funds. Al-Bandak said an additional $11 million is needed. The Palestinian Authority has already launched a campaign to raise the funds and Abbas has pledged to follow through.

"He told me from the beginning: 'Even if you don't have all the money to go ahead, start. This is a holy place and money will come,'" al-Bandak said.

The completion of the first phase is already a source of pride. "We are very proud of it because when we protect our national heritage, our history, we protect our future," al-Bandak said.


http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d245ae98c7d24cb89d1ad7063cf8acea/palestinians-renovate-church-jesus-birthplace

Have seen a few pics, it's beautiful.


Last edited by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Irn Bru on Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:21 am

That's a great story and something you will never read about from Memri, Camera or any of the other propagand sites.

Well done to both the Palstinians and the Christans.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Lord Foul on Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:47 pm

sassy wrote:
a restoration expert works on a mosaic inside the Church of the Nativity

After two years of painstaking work, experts have completed the initial phase of a delicate restoration project at the Church of the Nativity, giving a much-needed face-lift to one of Christianity's holiest sites.

The project, partially funded by the Palestinians and conducted by a team of Palestinian and international experts, is the biggest restoration at the iconic church in some 600 years. The removal of centuries of dust has left Crusader-era mosaics sparkling in sunlight filtering through brand new windows. Structural repairs on the fragile rooftop and windows have been completed and art treasures have been returned to their delicate elegance.

Although the Palestinians are overwhelmingly Muslim, they consider the church a national treasure and one of their most visited tourist sites, and President Mahmoud Abbas has been actively involved in the project.

snip/snap


so....not a theological decision at all, but a financial one....

especially when you consider Islam generally actively discourages and indeed criminalises any attempt to maintain christian churches, even if it isnt actively destroying them....
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:08 pm

More bollocks.  The Muslim Palestinians have been working with the churches, that are mostly Greek Orthodox in Palestine to protect them from the damage inflicted on them by settlers, who have burnt them down, stolen their land, covered them in graffiti and more.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Lord Foul on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:14 pm

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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:16 pm

Jewish settlers burn, destroy Church on the banks of the ...

falastinews.com/.../jewish-settlers-burn-destroy-church-on-the-banks-of-t...
18 Jun 2015 - Extremist Jewish settlers at dawn Thursday burned the Catholic Church ... Media sources said the arson attack caused heavy material damage to the Church, ... Palestinian family goes homeless after Israeli settlers burn their ...

Jewish settlers burn, destroy Catholic Church on the banks ...

www.intifada-palestine.com/.../jewish-settlers-burn-destroy-catholic-chur...
18 Jun 2015 - Jewish settlers at dawn Thursday burned the Catholic Church of ... Media sources said the arson attack caused heavy material damage to the Church, ... Israeli authorities displace 6 Palestinians in Jerusalem demolition→.

Jewish Extremists Set Fire To Historic Church In Israel

www.mintpressnews.com/jewish-extremists-burn...church-in.../206716/
18 Jun 2015 - A nun looks at a heavily damaged Church of Multiplication after a fire ... They are often attributed to extremist Jews from West Bank settlements. ... However, the Palestinians are Semitic, you are not, so that makes you the ...

Church Burning and Jewish Settlers in Israel | The ...

www.theoccidentalobserver.net/.../church-burning-and-jewish-settlers-in-isr...
6 Jul 2015 - The Jewish settlements that continue to expand in Palestine is a win-win ... territories and Israel are routinely targeted, damaged and defaced.”.

Dormition Church sustains damage in arson attack by settlers

english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=70357
26 Feb 2015 - Dormition Church sustains damage in arson attack by settlers ... attacks on Palestinian places of worship, homes, vehicles and cultivated lands.

Settlers Suspected in Church Arson ReleasedIMEMC

imemc.org/article/72001/
20 Jun 2015 - The arson attack struck the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the ... settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.'.

​Israel questions, sets free 16 young Jewish settlers after ...

https://www.rt.com/news/268255-church-arson-israel-settler/
19 Jun 2015 - A group of young Jewish settlers suspected of torching the Catholic ... A priest inspects the damage at a room located on the complex of the Church of the ... mainly Muslim and Palestinian, but also Christian and Jewish sites, ...
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:21 pm


Palestinian, Israeli and Christian foreign activists confront Israeli soldiers as they walk toward Beit al-Baraka, a church compound, situated between the Al-Arub refugee camp and the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank during a demonstration condemning the Israeli occupation, Aug. 15, 2015.  (photo by Getty Images/Hazem Bader)


Israeli land grab threatens Palestinian church

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israel is continuing to annex Christian church endowments in Palestine, both covertly and blatantly.


Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon recently approved the annexation of the Beit al-Baraka church compound to the Gush Etzion settlements established on Palestinian territories south of the West Bank, according to a Jan. 6 Haaretz report.
Reportedly, Ya’alon was responding to pressure by Israeli settlers who are constantly breaking into the church compound under the protection of the Israel Defense Forces. These settlers claim that they bought the compound, where a fence and security cameras have been installed and the IDF prohibits anyone from entering. Meanwhile, Palestinians are organizing marches in Beit al-Baraka to protest the settlers’ control over the church.
According to Palestinian officials and Christian citizens who spoke to Al-Monitor, there are eight buildings on the 10-acre church grounds, including a hospital providing medical care and services to Palestinians. The compound is owned and supervised by the Presbyterian Church in Palestine, which in turn is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in the United States, they said.
The US Presbyterian Church had control over the Palestinian Presbyterian Church’s endowments from 1940 to 2008, when the US organization sold Beit al-Baraka church to a Swedish shell company without consulting the church’s branch in Palestine. That company then transferred ownership of the church to an association controlled by Jewish tycoon Irving Moskowitz, one of the main funders of Israeli settlements in Jerusalem. Moskowitz then transferred the lands to the settlers, who now claim they bought the compound.
The Presbyterian Church in Palestine condemned the sale in an official statement issued June 17, and denied any involvement in the “suspicious deal that challenges the Presbyterian Church’s fight for the support of the Palestinian people and their national rights," saying, "The Presbyterian mission in the US does not have the authority to sell this property, and anyone who contributed to secretly selling Beit al-Baraka to settlers should be punished.”
This issue has focused attention on the Israeli government's and the settlers' confiscation or long-term leasing of land and church endowment buildings in Palestine, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the 1948 territories.
Hanna Omeira, head of the Presidential Higher Committee of Church Affairs, told Al-Monitor Israel has seized numerous church endowment properties. "Some were seized from the heart of Jerusalem, like the land on which the Knesset center and the Israeli Cabinet’s headquarters were built. Moreover, wide land areas were rented, but there are no accurate statistics [for] them.”
Regarding the Palestinian Authority's (PA) efforts to deal with the diversion of Beit al-Baraka, Omeira said, “A complicated fraud operation occurred to take over Beit al-Baraka. We wrote to the mother church in the US, but it refused to cooperate. The Swedish government does not have answers about the bogus company that bought the endowments and diverted them to Israel.”
He added that the PA and the Higher Presidential Committee of Church Affairs in Palestine are investigating political and legal recourse in the case. The committee has promised to follow up on Beit al-Baraka’s case with the Swedish government and will prepare a legal case to annul the deal. In the meantime, however, Israel continues these practices.
The Beit al-Baraka case is of particular concern because of the church's location.
“This is a strategic and important area, as it is located on Highway 60," which links Israeli settlements to Palestinian communities between Jerusalem and Hebron, according to Khalil Tafakji, director of the maps and survey department of the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem. "It will be annexed to the Gush Etzion cluster of Jewish settlements, and the noose will be tightened on the Palestinian Arroub refugee camp in a way that separates the southern West Bank from its center,” he told Al-Monitor.
In the same vein, there is a movement concerning the Greek Orthodox Church in Palestine and Jordan. A group calling itself Arab Orthodox Youth in Jordan and Palestine is speaking out against Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. The movement's organizers, who held sit-ins and marches Jan. 6, consider the patriarch “unworthy” due to actions they deem “racist against Arabs and wasteful with properties and endowments of the church that are being diverted to Israel.”
Those actions include the patriarch’s leasing to an Israeli company of almost 18 acres of land belonging to the Saint Elias Monastery south of Jerusalem. The Orthodox community believes the deal will leave the village of Beit Safafa surrounded by Israelis and allow them to expand their settlements in Jabal Abu Ghneim and Gilo.
Jalal Barham, a member of the Follow-up Committee of the Arab Orthodox High Council and head of the Arab Orthodox Cultural Club, told Al-Monitor, “The area of the Orthodox patriarchate’s endowment properties is estimated at 20% of most religious endowments in Palestine. Nobody knows how many properties and lands were rented or diverted to Israel.”
Barham continued, “We are following up on the patriarchate’s endowments that are being taken over, through the Israeli media" and institutions like the Jerusalem Municipality and its planning and land departments. "This contradicts Patriarch Theophilos’ promise on Aug. 22, 2005, before his election, to regain the lands, stop deals and conduct an engineering survey for all the church’s properties and endowments.”
Barham said the takeovers of the Beit al-Baraka and Arab Orthodox endowments are part of "a systematic policy [by] the patriarch’s advisers."
Alif Sabbagh, a member of the Central Orthodox Council in the 1948 territories, told Al-Monitor, “The patriarchate considers the Arab members of the Orthodox sect enemies, rather than partners in the endowments’ management, and forbids them from accessing any information related to these endowments.”
One radical solution to the diversions, according to Sabbagh, would be to “Arabize the spiritual leadership of all churches by appointing Arab clergy to senior church positions instead of Greek figures, and allowing them to manage [the church’s] affairs and make their own decisions.”
He said the PA "should make a strict decision stating that every Christian endowment should be under the PA’s authority, and no spiritual leader, whatever their sect, can use any property without the approval of the PA and in compliance with the interest of the Palestinian Arab members of the sect and church.”
But the PA opposes the "Arabization" of the church and sees it an issue tied to national independence. The PA believes Israel’s classification of Palestinian land as “disputed territories” would encourage it to seize more church lands if Arabs were appointed to replace Greek clergy.
The PA does, however, advocate the appointment of Arab members to high ranks in the church. Omeira said, “The PA objects to any schism within the Orthodox patriarchate and is working on opening dialogue channels between the church and its opponents to reach a solution amenable to all.”
Hanna Issa, a professor of international law and the head of the Islamic-Christian Committee, told Al-Monitor, “Confiscating church endowments in Palestine is illegal, as per international laws that forbid land confiscation in occupied territories like Palestine. But Israel is disregarding these laws and continues to take over lands and displace Christians and Muslims.”
Issa added, “These lands are Palestine’s, and they should not be sold without the approval of the PA.”


Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/01/israel-land-grab-west-bank-church-endowments.html#ixzz45vO7TwcR
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Lord Foul on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:22 pm

and? your point is....

so you excuse the excesses of one by pointing out te excesses of another...

typical leftyism....

I'm aware of how the israelis deal in such matters

We WERE talking about palestinians...

my point was that this particular church is getting the EXTRAORDINARY treatment it is , NOT becasue of its religious or "cultural" value, but becasue of its financial value.... and that generally islamic attitudes EVEN AT THEIR BEST require the gradual dissolution and distruction of churches by enforced neglect.

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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Lord Foul on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:26 pm

It wont wash with me sassy....

this continuous excusing of islamic failings by pointing out someone else is as bad.

sassy (in head masters office, Junior school)

head master...sassy you are naughty fighting with suzie
Sassy...yeah ok...but "SHE" pee'd in the bike shed


Rolling Eyes
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Syl on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:28 pm

I have visited this site pre restoration. I'm not religious but it was an experience not to be missed. I thought it was beautiful even then.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:29 pm

Oh do shut up Vic.  I have a Muslim friend in Palestine that spends his time trying to save that Church, and they have a march every single week to protest about it.   He's been shot at with rubber bullets, tear gassed and more, and still he goes with them, and so do many more Mulsim Palestinians.

It's reciprocated.   During Ramadan, if the Muslims are held up at checkpoints and haven't had a drink all day, when it gets to the point they are allowed, the Christians who live near those checkpoints go round with water bottles.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:30 pm

Syl wrote:I have visited this site pre restoration. I'm not religious but it was an experience not to be missed. I thought it was beautiful even then.


I'd love to go, only seen the pictures.  Been invited but can't get there.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Lord Foul on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:32 pm

No I wont "shut up"...

quite frankly you are so enamoured by islam you are blind to reality...

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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:33 pm

Quite frankly I'm not enamoured of anything, I simply treat people as people, and I'm not a bigotted dumbell.


Last edited by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Syl on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:33 pm

sassy wrote:
Syl wrote:I have visited this site pre restoration. I'm not religious but it was an experience not to be missed. I thought it was beautiful even then.


I'd love to go, only seen the pictures.  Been invited but can't get there.
That's sad Sassy...maybe one day?
We went just before Christmas time (about 15 years ago ) it was magical.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:34 pm

Syl wrote:
sassy wrote:


I'd love to go, only seen the pictures.  Been invited but can't get there.
That's sad Sassy...maybe one day?
We went just before Christmas time (about 15 years ago ) it was magical.


Can but hope!   Lucky you, glad you had the chance.
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by Lord Foul on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:40 pm

sassy wrote:Quite frankly I'm not enamoured of anything, I simply treat people as people, and I'm not a bigotted dumbell.


when cornered scream any one of the "SIXHIRB" insults....

(from the "lefty handbook of political argument")

unfortunately for you it has lost all meaning and power......due to continous overuseage
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Re: Palestinians renovate church at Jesus' birthplace

Post by sassy on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:41 pm

More platitudes, they are beginning to get really boring.
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