09 January 2018

Celebration of Epiphany in Bethlehem by local Christians and pilgrims

In Bethlehem, on the occasion of the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Custos of the Holy Land presided over the celebrations attended by local pilgrims and Christians.

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Here in Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, the Messiah was born, so that the biblical Prophecy could be fulfilled.

The Child was worshiped by the Three Wise Men, who, led by a star, arrived here. This is the episode that the Church celebrates on this date!

Pastor – St. Catherine Franciscan Monastery "ad Nativitatem"
"Epiphany means 'arrival of the lord', which is for everyone. At Christmas, the Lord meets simple people: shepherds. Today, we are present at the encounter with the Lord: intellectuals and people from all over the world are here to meet Him.”

In Bethlehem, the Epiphany festivities took place on Friday, with the solemn entry into the city of the Custos of the Holy Land. In the Manger Square, Fr. Francesco Patton was welcomed by religious and civil authorities.

After having passed through the Gate of Humility and having recited the Vespers with the other Franciscans, in St. Catherine's Church, next to the Basilica of the Nativity, the Custos explained the meaning of this Feast. "Let us adore Child Jesus, let us offer Him our life and let us ask Him for the gift of peace".

On Saturday morning, Brother Patton celebrated the solemn mass. There were Christians, Jesus' countrymen and pilgrims from different parts of the world.

Bishop of Nola - Italy
"The three Wise Men came to worship the Child Jesus carrying their gifts, manifesting the convergence of all the Churches, of all communities and of all peoples towards Jesus. In each of us, a light of truth and joy that makes the face of the Child Jesus shine, is kindled. Jesus speaks of Peace, of Communion among peoples, of convergence and unity in diversity and diversity is wealth.”

Dioceses of Nola - Italy
"We came from far away; it is our son's first time in the Holy Land, so it is a triple and beautiful emotion for us. We have participated in the living nativity every year for a long time. It is very exciting to bring my family here! "

Dioceses di Nola - Italy
"This has been the dream of a lifetime, because for 37 years my family has been organizing the living nativity scene on the night of December 24th; being here in Bethlehem with my husband, my son, my mother and my family is a dream come true.”

The celebration culminated with the recitation of the second Vespers on Saturday afternoon. In the grotto of the Nativity, the three Wise Men, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar were represented on stage. They knelt down and offered gold, incense and myrrh to the Child Jesus, impersonating the three kings from two thousand years ago.

Starting from the Grotto of the Manger, the Custos carried in procession, through St. Catherine cloister, the statue of the Child Jesus seated on the throne – a traditional depiction of the Holy Land. The image is emblematic of the way in which Jesus was recognized by the Three Kings: the "King who fed God's people.”