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Thousands flock to Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations
25 December 2013 09:19 by Catherine Pepinster

Thousands of pilgrims flocked to Manger Square in Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations. The nearby Church of the Nativity is said to be the site of the manger in Bethlehem where Christ was born. In recent years the numbers of pilgrims have risen as efforts continue to devise a peaceful solution to Middle East troubles.

Among those who attended the celebrations was the Latin Patriarch who was driven through an Israeli checkpoint to reach the church. It took him 90 minutes to reach the shrine. Three gates normally kept shut were opened to allow the Patriarch Archbishop Fouad Twal to make this way through. “We have to be brothers with each other”, he said.