• Short Summary

    Christmas -- the festival of peace -- was being organised like a military operation in the tiny town of Bethlehem on Friday (21 December) in the windswept Judean hills where King David once shepherd his father's flocks.

  • Description

    Christmas -- the festival of peace -- was being organised like a military operation in the tiny town of Bethlehem on Friday (21 December) in the windswept Judean hills where King David once shepherd his father's flocks.

    With five different Christian communities celebrating the birth of Jesus on three different dates, every effort was being made by authorities to ensure smooth running. Arrangements have to be made for the Roman Catholics and Western churches to have access on December 24 to the Grotto of the Manager, the traditional site of the birthplace of jesus, which is under the Greek Orthodox Church of the Nativity.

    The Greek Orthodox, like the Syrian and Coptic Churches, do not observe Christmas until the evening of January 6 and the day of January 7. And when they begin epiphany on January 18, the Americans are just starting their christmas celebrations.

    Despite the spread of dates, the order of Christmas worship in Bethlehem has been carefully worked out. Since the 1967 war, the Israeli military administration -- which is responsible for all the occupied west bank of the Jordan including Bethlehem -- has worked with the churches to ensure that the services run with as much decorum as possible.

    The security arrangements include posting armed guards on rooftops and along the access routes.

    Despite the October war, authorities expect 10,000 visitors will flood into Bethlehem over Christmas. Most of them will come on the afternoon and night of December 24, when foreign and local choirs will sing in Manger Square. About 2,000 people lucky enough to acquire invitations -- including diplomats -- will crowd into St. Catherine's Basilica for the midnight mass.

    This will be transmitted live on television satellite to Europe. The church is being completely renovated for this year's celebrations.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6WUX1BVXZ87LO6UOESJCHAVPC
    Media URN:
    VLVA6WUX1BVXZ87LO6UOESJCHAVPC
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    22/12/1973
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:22:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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