Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas in Bethlehem -- video of Scout parades and Orthodox service in the Church of the Nativity [also a clip of the Noble Joseph sung at Good Friday service in North Carolina]

Some video of Christmas in Bethlehem that I hadn't seen before, beginning with this year's Christmas tree lighting … also a clip of the Noble Joseph, an Orthodox hymn I especially like that I surfed into while looking for Church of the Nativity pix.

Christmas in Bethlehem 2013. Posted by 4D MEDIA2013. [Lighting of the Christmas tree, a tourist event and pop-rock concert in Manger Square, Dec. 1.]

Posted today on the Times of Israel website - "Are Bethlehem’s Christians losing grip on their city?" By Debra Kamin, features writer for Times:

Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun is concerned.

It’s nearly Christmas, but the leader of this famed little town – the first female to ever hold the role – says that tourists are not flocking to the events in the packed calendar she and her team have prepared for the month of December. In a bid to jumpstart the city’s most lucrative season, she launched Christmas early this year, lighting the massive tree at the center of Manger Square on December 1 and unveiling a packed four weeks of music, art and cultural happenings.

But despite Bethlehem’s critical role in the story of Christmas and the life of Jesus, its shrinking Christian community this year is experiencing a rather lackluster holiday.

And so on.

Kamin also quotes Samir Qumsieh, an evangelical Christian broadcaster of Beit Sahour, on "Muslim extremism" and low Christian birthrate in West Bank. Adds some demographics I wasn't aware of:

Bethlehem is part of a trio of towns, including Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, that locals refer to as “the Triangle.” Taken together, they comprise 70,000 residents, and Christians still maintain a majority. But in Bethlehem they are barely one-third of the population, their ranks having been severely depleted by the Christian exodus during the worst years of the Second Intifada.

Cf. three videos by YouTube user David Lanier

Published on Dec 26, 2012. Some video of Scout troops playing mostly British and American carols as they march through Bethlehem up to Manger Square and the arrival of the Latin Patriarch on Christmas Eve Day 2012. [Shows Scout bands marching, to Manger Square ca. 22:00, arrival of dignitaries outside Holy Nativity ca. 28:00.

Orthodox Christmas in Bethlehem. Published on Jan 9, 2013. Celebrations and Festivities of the arrival of His Beatitude, Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan to Manger Square in Bethlehem and the service of the Blessing of Loaves in the Church of the Nativity. [Shows parade through downtown Bethlehem streets, manger square ca. 14:50, blessing ceremony (?) w/ loaves at iconostasis beginning ca. 33:49.]

Walking through Bethlehem to the Church of the Nativity. Published on Jul 3, 2012. A little footage walking through the market section of old Bethlehem down into Manger Square and into the Church of the Nativity. [Opening footage outside Christmas Lutheran Church! Follows through streets to Manger Square.

The Noble Joseph. Holy Friday at Holy Cross Orthodox Church, High Point, N.C. Published on Apr 15, 2012 The noble Joseph, taking down thy most pure Body from the Tree,
wrapped it in clean linen and sweet spices and laid it in a new tomb.
But on the third day thou didst rise, O Lord, granting the world great mercy.

Placing of the Epitaphios in the tomb.

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