Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the midnight Orthodox Christmas Mass at the Church of Nativity in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday.The city of Bethlehem marked the beginning of the celebrations for the Orthodox Christmas on Sunday morning.
Local Palestinians and international visitors flocked since early morning hours on Sunday.
Boy scouts bands from several parts of the West Bank played drums and Scottish bagpipes as they marched through the city.
In the early morning the, Patriarch of the Assyrian Orthodox Church was the first religious figure to arrive in Bethlehem, he was then followed by the Patriarch of the Coptic Church.
At midday, the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, Theofilos III, arrived at the Manger Square in Bethlehem city centre, where he was greeted by Bethlehem Governor Salah Al-Ta’mari, Mayor of Bethlehem Victor Batarseh, and the Palestinian Minister of Tourism, Khouloud Daibes, in addition to members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from the city.
At around 11: 45 on Sunday evening President Abbas arrived at the church where he was welcomed by Theofilos III Governor Salah Al-Ta’mari, Mayor of Bethlehem Victor Batarseh, and the Palestinian Minister of Tourism, Khouloud Daibes.
The president along with the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, Theofilos III interred the cave were Jesus Christ is believed to be born and they held short prayers then they moved up to the main Church and continued the Mass.
Hundreds of local Palestinian Christians and internationals were at the church for the Mass.
Christmas is celebrated by Orthodox Christians throughout the world on the January 7th following the Gregorian calendar – 13 days after other Christians.