Posts made in December, 2018

Christian Peacemaking Team: Christ Light in Al-Khalil

Posted on Dec 30, 2018

by Lisa Pires

The Light shines in the darkness, a light that darkness cannot quench (John 1:5).
He brings them out of darkness into light (Quran 2:257)

Christmas comes just after the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. Into this darkness the Christ Light comes, symbolizing the hopes of all humankind for peace, love and justice. The Christ Light is universal and inclusive, embracing all races, religions, nations and peoples: in fact, the entire Universe. It shines even when it is not perceptible to our finite senses, in the midst of horror, injustice, inequality, and all that is in the darkness.

In al-Khalil (Hebron), we CPTers experience this Christ Light in the warm smiles of the people we meet each day, even when they suffer humiliation and oppression.

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A Christmas plea to my Christian brothers and sisters

Posted on Dec 27, 2018

Image: Mass at Saint Catherine's Church, in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally recognized by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Tuesday, December 25, 2018. (Photo by Nasser Nasser / POOL / APA Images)

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, heads a Christmas midnight Mass at Saint Catherine’s Church, in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally recognized by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Tuesday, December 25, 2018. (Photo by Nasser Nasser / POOL / APA Images)

Image: Robert Herbst

Robert Herbst

by Robert Herbst* | Posted in Mondoweiss

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this Christmas in the year 2018, hear my confession, and my plea:

I need help.

I need your help.

Many lives are at stake.

It is a big ask.

It would take courage, determination and commitment, love and grace.

In the wake of the Holocaust – the culmination of centuries of Christian anti-Semitism — my People, the Jewish People, felt a deep need for a safe and eternal refuge – a Jewish homeland — and persuaded the Western World to put it in the Holy Land, where we were outnumbered by Gentiles — Christians and Muslims.

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Homily of Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa for Christmas 2018

Posted on Dec 27, 2018

Christmas Night 2018

“Jesus comes to live in our city”

Mister President, Esteemed Authorities, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood, dear brothers and sisters, beloved faithful of our Jerusalem diocese, dear pilgrims from all over the world and all who, on this holy night, are connected with us through the many means of communication: each of us, gathered together in this place, feels called to Bethlehem, the city where our Savior, Who is Christ the Lord, was born!

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem” (Mt 2:1): This is not only an historical-geographical indication but a divine choice. Being born here, in a particular place, in a city of this land is what God has always wanted, as He loves the cities of men. If the Bible begins in a Garden, then it ends in a city, the holy Jerusalem. And the very life of Christ, which begins here, from birth to death, will be a continuous journey through cities and villages: the desert was, for Him, a necessary, but not definitive, pause.

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Christmas Greetings from Taybeh

Posted on Dec 25, 2018

by Maria Khoury

From the Land of Christ’s holy birth, wishing all of you a healthy, blessed Merry Christmas!

Here in the Holy Land we celebrate Christmas three times! Today, Bethlehem is the place to be to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. The Orthodox Holy Nativity Liturgy will take place in the early hours of January 7th and the Orthodox Armenian community will celebrate the birth of our Lord on the same day as the Holy Epiphany according to the Old Julian calendar which falls on January 19th.

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“Differences of religion do not separate us, but rather enrich us in many areas of life”

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

“By the grace of God, we, as Christians, have been living in the East for two thousand years, and we have coexisted with our Muslim brothers and sisters for many centuries. Differences of religion do not separate us, but rather enrich us in many areas of life.” — Patriarch John X of Antioch

World Council of Churches, Dec. 18, 2018 – From 14-16 December in the UK, the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and Cumberland Lodge held a conference titled “Towards Peaceful co-existence in the Middle East: challenges and opportunities.” Co-hosted by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the gathering drew participants from a broad range of Middle Eastern and European churches.

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Children and young people of the Holy Land prepare for Christmas

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

Dancing … singing … and also acting … these little artists are preparing for Christmas! The stage for the Festival of Talents was set up at the John Paul II Foundation in Bethlehem.

Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

“We take advantage of the fact that Christmas really brings peace in our hearts to share the joy of Jesus that is born within us and bring peace to the whole world at this time when we really need it”.

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Three Different Days of Christmas Celebrations in Bethlehem

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

Bethlehem is the only place in the world where one can celebrate Christmas on three different days with three different religious traditions.

by Tony Khashram, Managing Director, Aeolus Tours

Christmas in the Holy Land occurs three times, once on December 25th according to the Western Christian Church and again on January 6th according to the Eastern Christian Church and a third time on January 18th for the Armenian Christians.[1] Each Christmas celebration is led by the respective church patriarch, along with their entourage of supporting religious and temporal leaders. All celebrate Christmas with a recurring set of events that have occurred by-and-large the same way for hundreds of years. These arrangements are often referred to as “the status quo”, and they include understandings between the different churches as well as with the local leadership. The three different Christmas Eves follow the very same protocol to the letter.

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Join a CPT Delegation to Palestine/Israel in 2019

Posted on Dec 20, 2018

Christian Peacemaker Team – Road closures, home invasions, checkpoints, and the presence of militant Israeli settlers near Palestinian villages continue to threaten Palestinian human rights, and Israel’s separation barrier (much of it built on confiscated Palestinian land) continues to separate Palestinian communities from each other and ordinary Israelis and Palestinians seeking to come together for peace. CPT delegation members will gain a perspective on how these issues affect daily life, and will experience the power of Palestinian and Israeli citizens overcoming what seem to many to be permanent obstacles.

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Fr. Mario: “Gaza’s Christians should not require permits to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem”

Posted on Dec 15, 2018

Image: Nativity play at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza. ©Andres Bergamini/ LPJ Archives

Nativity play at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza. ©Andres Bergamini/ LPJ Archives

by Saher Kawas, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

GAZA – Every year during the Christmas season, Bethlehem becomes the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Christians from all over the world to celebrate the nativity of the Savior. For Gaza’s Christian community, celebrating Christmas and visiting family where Jesus was born is a privilege which half of them do not have.

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Holy Christmas Days Are Not So Holy in Palestine

Posted on Dec 13, 2018

by Maria Khoury

It is very sad to have extreme violence during these most holy Christmas days but almost expected living under Israeli military occupation. All hell broke loose today in the West Bank following the killing of three settlers near Ramallah in a drive-by shooting where the attackers fled the scene. These killings made many settlers in our area literally go crazy, and they were damaging and attacking all Palestinian cars stuck at military checkpoints for hours on end. Israel immediately arrested sixty Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and anyway in the last few days has been in a intense raid spree in Ramallah.

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