Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
February 01 , 2020 , 10:46
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem



According to the Status Quo, on January 18-19, the Armenian Apostolic  Church has the right to celebrate the feast of Nativity and Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Nativity Church of Bethlehem.


Before the Christmas season, the Status Quo communities of Armenians,  Greeks and Latins  prepare  a  program of “Religious Ceremonies in Bethlehem”. According to the program, on January 18 at 11:00, the St. James Brotherhood, presided by His Beatitude the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, together with the pilgrims and faithful, makes a solemn entry to the Nativity Church. From there,  they  proceed  to  the  Armenian  Convent  adjacent  to  the Nativity Church. From 14:00-18:00 another solemn entry is held in the Basilica and then entry to the Grotto. Thereafter Vespers and Divine Liturgy is celebrated in the Grotto. The ceremonies resume at 22:00. At midnight special ceremony is held in the Grotto from where  His  Beatitude  delivers  his  Christmas  message  to  the Armenian  nation.  On  January  19,  at  1:00-6:00  solemn  Divine Liturgies and “Blessing of Water” is held.


On the feast of the Armenian Christmas and Revelation, the Grotto belongs to the Armenian Church for 24 hours. Armenian icon, Gospel and two candles are put on the Altar of the Star in the Grotto.


On January 18, after the Armenian Divine Liturgy at 18:00, the Greeks have right to incense in the Grotto. This year however, the  Greeks  demanded  from  the  Armenians  to  move  the  icon, Gospel, and candles from the Altar of the Star in order to put their icon.  This  was  rejected  by  the  Armenians  because  the  Greeks don’t have any right to do so. A quarrel was followed between the two sides.


After  the  negotiations  and  especially  taking  into consideration  the  personal  request  of  His  Excellency  Mr. Mahhmoud Abbas, the president of Palestine, His Beatitude the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem decided for only this year 2020, allow the Greeks, to hold their icon in front of the Altar of the Star without moving the Armenian icon, Gospel and candles from the Altar of the Star. 


During the Greek incense this year, the policemen held their icon. Right after the incense, the icon was taken out of the Grotto.


It is worth mentioning that on January 18, 2020, violation of the rights of  the  Armenian  Apostolic  Church  was  not  recorded, and the temporary agreement, was only for the year 2020.


After  the  feasts,  the  two  communities,  together  with government officials, will meet to solve the problem  relying on the submitted documents.


The  Armenian  Patriarchate  of  Jerusalem  and  Saint  James Brotherhood  effectively  carry  out  the  mission  of  protecting  the rights of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Holy Places of the Holy  Land.  That  mission  was  entrusted  to  the  Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem for centuries. 


Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem

19 January, 2020