The Mosaic Center in Bethlehem was inaugurated, May 26, and will offer a new training programme in the art of mosaics and tourism thus contributing to strengthening the artistic and cultural heritage of the city.
The doubting of St Thomas; Ascension; Christ entering Jerusalem; the ecumenical and provincial Councils and the flight into Egypt. The art of mosaics exalts holy places even more. The Basilica of the Nativity of Bethlehem presents a whole range of mosaic decorations.
In July 2016 restorers discovered the mosaic of an angel that had been hidden under the plaster for centuries. Together with the other six, he is depicted in a procession towards the birthplace of Jesus. The Basilica is one of the oldest in the Holy Land, and is the only one to have been saved from the various waves of destruction. Its first construction by Saint Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, dates back to the fourth century.
This artistic and cultural heritage is now enriched by the inauguration of the Mosaic Center in Bethlehem, thanks to a collaboration between the Association pro Terra Sancta (ATS) and the Mosaic Center of Jericho. The project, which is aimed at women and children, will offer professional training in the production and restoration of mosaics, as well as a qualification as tourist guides.
Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
“In my opinion, mosaics have a very special value, both because they belong to the tradition, history and culture of this land, of this city of Bethlehem, in Palestine, and because they indicate what Pope John Paul II called ‘way of beauty’. This is an extraordinary way to get to God and to express praise and thanksgiving, and we know why a mosaic is a beautiful symbol of how we can live together. Many different tiles, many different colours which, thanks to the hands of the artist, create a design that is harmonious, beautiful and makes people happy “.
The Custos of the Holy Land took part in the inauguration ceremony – Br Francesco Patton, representatives of partner organizations and local authorities. A moment to receive God’s blessing for the new space in the center of Bethlehem, given by the Custos of the Holy Land to all those who wish to be involved.
President of the Association of Artisans and Small Businesses – Trent
“Training is very important for the growth of people and therefore a young person is certainly more likely to work and find work and create social development in the country and in the city where he or she lives.
The beginning of a new project but also an encounter between religions. This is why during the month of Ramadan, a period of fasting and prayer, an “Iftar” dinner was offered to Muslim friends and also to Christians. An evening that recalls the meeting of St Francis with the Sultan Malek El Kamal 800 years ago in the Holy Land.
Iftar is the meal that concludes the daily fast during Ramadan and introduces night prayers. The fast begins after the “Suhur” meal before dawn and continues during the daylight hours until the Iftar.
Iftar, the meeting between different religions and the inauguration of a social work. All together these form a beautiful mosaic that shows men and women in procession and in search of God.