The church of Ecumenism

Ecumenism in Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity is one of the most important places in the Holy Land for encounters among the different Christian denominations and religions. The images, history and events that characterize it allow us to speak of this church as a symbolic place of Ecumenism.

Already in the Crusader period the church had been the site of union between two Churches, Eastern and Western, which had been divided following the Schism of 1054. In fact, despite the fact that the church was under the control of the Crusader Knights, who were the Pope’s representatives in these places, the iconographic design of the mosaic wall decorations was commissioned by the Byzantine emperor and carried out by Eastern masters.

Today three Christian denominations − Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox – live together in the church, experiencing all the difficulties this entails and living an experience of daily Ecumenism.

But our reflection can move beyond the Ecumenical aspect and we can recognize in the Church of the Nativity a character of dialogue.