The Brazilian Government has approved the donation of 792 thousand Brazilian Reais to the restoration works of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine. The church started to be built in the 4th century to mark the birthplace of Jesus and is visited by nearly 3 million pilgrims and tourists every year.
In 2008, the Palestinian government and the three Christian denominations present in the building - Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic – launched an initiative to restore the site, in coordination with and under the supervision of UNESCO. The project undergoes an independent and international audit by Deloitte & Touche.
The Palestinian government and its international partners have already raised 10 million U.S. dollars, about half of the funds needed for the restoration of the building. The resources have already allowed for the restoration of elements including the roof, windows and various parts of the façades. Twenty of the fifty columns, many of which contain paintings with Christian religious motifs, are under restoration. The next phases will include the repair of the other columns, and floor marble and mosaics.
Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Chile, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Russia, the Holy See and Turkey participate in the project, in addition to Palestinian and foreign entities and companies, and individuals of different nationalities.