A MULTIMEDIA TOURING EXHIBITION
Exhibition promoted by
STATE OF PALESTINE
EMBASSY OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE HOLY SEE
Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine
Presidential Committee for the Restoration of the Church of the Nativity
In cooperation with
With the collaboration of
The exhibition highlights the rehabilitation works of the Church of the Nativity in all its artistic beauty and historical significance, yet most precious is its spiritual message. Today, as our world struggles against the pandemic and its serious ramifications, the Nativity always reminds us of the rebirth of our Lord Jesus and with him a new life and new hope arises.
This is a unique opportunity to see with your own eyes the refurbishment of this cradle of Christianity and walk through its history. The mosaics, the columns, the crafted woods, all the masterpieces that through the centuries made this place a real treasure of civilization are now for everyone to admire.
It is the “Bethlehem Re-born” which offers us hope, healing, and victory over all somber situations. After more than ten years of diligent work, this exhibition shows how the Church has been restored to its original glory for the first time in 600 years. This could not have happened without the consent of the three churches which are responsible for the status-quo, namely the Orthodox, Franciscans, Armenians churches, with the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and the dedication of the Presidential Committee.
It is with humility, and yet with pride, that the Palestinian people presents Bethlehem and its church to the world: We believe that through the beauty and power of art, history, culture and faith, we can promote the understanding between people and strengthen the interfaith dialogue as well inspire the betterment of future generations.
Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the Holy see
Following unprecedented renovations that lasted almost ten years, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been restored to its original beauty. A symbol of humanity has been given back to the faithful all over the world and to today’s pilgrims who follow in the footsteps of the women and men who over the centuries have venerated the birthplace of Jesus.
Through the discoveries of new archaeological excavations and complex restoration works, this exhibition tells the story of renewed devotion – from the time of the first Christians who venerated a simple grotto to the age of the Byzantine emperors who built one of the most magnificent basilicas of antiquity that later on was fortified and lavishly decorated by the knights who founded the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Exhibits extend to the present day and show the long period of neglect and deterioration that had seriously jeopardized the ancient structure until the Palestinian Presidential Committee for the Restoration of the Nativity Church, with the support of the international community, forged a historic agreement. Thus, amid sensitive social, political, and diplomatic conditions, considerable financial and professional resources were committed to managing a restoration project that harmonizes the requests of the three religious communities, the Greek Orthodox, the Franciscan and the Armenian.
By documenting restoration work and archaeological excavations, the exhibition constructs a broader and deeper story that embraces the entire space of the basilica from the system of grottos to the roof, showing its development from the oldest periods up to the present day. Bethlehem Reborn tells a story that goes beyond the history of politics and art to reveal, through the voices and accounts of pilgrims, the story of religious pilgrimage.
Through its five areas/sections, the exhibition uses the nearly completed restoration project as a thread that stitches together the even greater history of the oldest monument in Christendom.