fra Niccolò da Poggibonsi
A Voyage beyond the Seas, 1345
Niccolò da Poggibonsi, friar of the Seraphic Province, arrived in Bethlehem during his pilgrimage to the East in the years 1346-1350. His is one of the most important testimonies in relation to the definitive attribution of the guardianship of the church to the Franciscan friars. In addition to describing a number of places within the church, he has left us an account of Christmas Eve in which individuals from different peoples and nations participated together.
On Christmas Night: What is done in the Church (Chap. CIV)
Now I wish to relate that on the night of the nativity of Christ in this place congregate all the generations of Christians, and each generation prepares its altar; and each generation celebrates in its own rite, in its own tongue, so that it is a marvel to see so many people thus disguised in tongue and attire.
(Niccolò da Poggibonsi, A Voyage beyond the Seas, Translated by fr. T. Bellorini ofm and fr. E. Hoade ofm, Jerusalem, 1996, p. 54)