Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bethlehem procession emphasizes solidarity among Palestinian Christians

Holding banners and carrying olive branches, the baseball-capped children sing carols while making their way through Bethlehem’s streets.
By Amelia Thomas, Middle East Times
BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- It is a chilly Saturday morning in Bethlehem on January 14, the date traditionally celebrated by many Christian Eastern Orthodox churches as New Year's Day.
While old women sell their wares in the tiny, crowded market, and men flock around vendors' cages of pigeons, ducks and chickens, the sounds of a procession can be heard, making its way down from Star Street to Manger Square in the center of the ancient town.
The procession consists of more than 1,000 Palestinian Christian children from over 50 Latin parishes across the West Bank, many of whom have never before had the chance to enter Bethlehem
Holding banners and carrying olive branches, symbolic of peace, the baseball-capped children sing carols while making their way excitedly through Bethlehem's winding cobbled streets, their chaperones - a combination of proud mothers and excited nuns - cheerfully urging them on.
This procession, organized by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, is the second annual Journey to Bethlehem, aiming to "demonstrate the importance of solidarity among the Christian denominations in the Holy Land".
At a time when some Palestinian Christians fear that a widespread win for the Islamic organization Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian elections could be detrimental to an already isolated and fragmented group, this march is particularly symbolic.
Making up less than 2 percent of the Palestinian population, with around 35,000 Christians in the West Bank and 3,000 in Gaza, this minority fears not only for its rights, but also for its existence.
Many Palestinian Christians have already emigrated in the wake of the most recent intifada's violence and subsequent restrictions; in Bethlehem alone, it is estimated that over 2,500 Christians have left over the last four years.
This march, encompassing Anglican, Armenian, Syrian, Coptic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite and Lutheran communities, thus intends to send an important message of solidarity to its participants, and to the wider world.

4 Comments:

At 5:44 PM , Blogger Egypeter said...

It's so sad to me the exodus of middle east Christians. These are the original lands of Christianity and now the Christians themselves are basiclly forced to flee their own lands.

Prospects for the future do not seem too bright and I am not optimistic...it appears that Hamas is making big gains in Palestinian elections much the same way that the fanatics made gains during Egyptian parliamentary elections.

Hope for modernization, separation of mosque/church & state, tolerance and pluralism are nil if fanatics continue to gain power in these so-called "moderate" arab states. Iran and Saudi Arabia are already a lost cause...let's hope Egypt and Palastine do not follow suit.

 
At 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as Christian land or Islamic lands. All these terminology are a result of human invention. Linking land with a particular religion is the work of Satan who thinks that he owned the earth. The whole earth belongs to God.

Psalm 24:1. The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters." King David wrote this psalm about 3000 years ago. The word, "psalm" means song. This verse is clear. The earth and everything in the earth belongs to God. All the people who live on this earth belong to God. Why? God made everything. God founded the earth and established it. This is the first button for the first hole: the knowledge that everything on the earth belongs to the Lord.

Psalm 89:11. "The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it." This verse is also clear. Not only does the earth belong to God but also the heavens. The sun, moon, stars and galaxies also belong to God. We also hear that God created both the heavens and the earth including everything on the earth. God created the universe which belongs to God.

Don’t be confused by Islamic confusion.
eemc2203@yahoo.com

 
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