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Pilgrims celebrate Christmas under Church of the Nativity's new roof

Bethlehem's ancient Church of the Nativity is undergoing a long overdue renovation, and its wooden roof and mosaics have been restored in time for Christmas.
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BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Bethlehem's Al-Mahd Church, better known as the Church of the Nativity, is greeting Christmas with a fresh face this year following a major rehabilitation of its roof and ancient mosaics.

The church, on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2012, has suffered earthquakes, storms and even political sieges ever since its construction in A.D. 330. The renovation of the church has been on the agenda ever since the late 2000s, with both the Palestinian Authority and UNESCO expressing a commitment to raise funds for much-needed work. Several parallel rehabilitation efforts started in 2013, and today, about 70% of its renovation work has been completed, Hanna Issa, the secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites, told Al-Monitor.

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