- May 29, 2020
Bethlehem residents returned to the Church of the Nativity as the holy site opened to visitors May 26 after being closed since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But amid the joy was a feeling of uncertainty about their economic future, as pilgrims and tourists are not yet able to return.
Bethlehem’s storied Church of the Nativity reopened to visitors on Tuesday, after a nearly three-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem urged its faithful to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health, following its order March 5 to close all schools, universities, mosques and churches, including the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field.
Thousands of Christian pilgrims descended on the West Bank town of Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, ahead of Tuesday’s annual Christmas Eve celebrations.
Following protests, Catholics in Gaza have been granted permits to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem, after Israeli officials had previously indicated that they would deny permission to take part in the long-standing tradition.
Brothers Peter and Eli Hosh grew up knowing that their hometown was not only the place where they went to school and ran down to the corner market for their mother, but the town where Jesus was born.