January 4, 2013

The Annual Sweep of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem

On Wednesday, December 20th/January 2nd, the annual sweeping, or cleaning, of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem took place, in anticipation of the Christmas celebrations, which under the Jerusalem Patriarchate falls on January 7th (December 25th according to the Julian Calendar reckoning). This cleaning is done together by the Orthodox, the Armenians and the Franciscans, among others. Among the Orthodox participants were monks from the Holy Sepulcher and the Lavra of Saint Savvas. The cleaning is done according to arrangements made during Ottoman times as well as recent bilateral and trilateral agreements. The sweep concluded with coffee in the Franciscan and Armenian areas, and fasting foods in the headquarters of the abbot of the Orthodox.