- Jan 22, 2021
The burning of two Christmas trees in the early morning of Dec. 26 in the northern Israeli Arab city of Sakhnine was carried out “intentionally and premeditatedly,” said the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.
Amid suffering and despair, further darkened by the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East urged their faithful at Christmastime to hold on to hope.
Bethlehem on Thursday ushered in Christmas Eve with a stream of joyous marching bands and the triumphant arrival of the top Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land, but few people were there to greet them as the coronavirus pandemic and a strict lockdown dampened celebrations in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
Iraqi President Barham Salih attended Christmas Eve Mass Thursday, telling faithful that not only would he make every effort to defend Christians and help them return to their land, but he also pledged to clamp down on extremist violence and root out government corruption.
In a Christmas message meant to console his people, the head of the largest Catholic community in Iraq outlined the agenda for the pope’s upcoming trip, indicating two paths the country can take as it tries to put the pieces of a broken nation back together.
A ritual bath dating to the time of Jesus has been uncovered on the Mount of Olives at the site tradition says is the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus experienced the Agony in the Garden before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.