At Christmas, a rare collaboration to restore an ancient church

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Tens of thousands of pilgrims descended on Bethlehem in the days leading up to Christmas. Despite ongoing repairs to the Church of the Nativity, pilgrims have been able to access the church, built atop the traditional site of Jesus's birth. In Manger Square (pictured here), adjoining the church, the Palestinian Authority erected a large Christmas tree, nativity scene and Christmas decorations. RNS photo by Michele Chabin

Tens of thousands of pilgrims descended on Bethlehem in the days leading up to Christmas. Despite ongoing repairs to the Church of the Nativity, pilgrims have been able to access the church, built atop the traditional site of Jesus's birth. In Manger Square (pictured here), adjoining the church, the Palestinian Authority erected a large Christmas tree, nativity scene and Christmas decorations. RNS photo by Michele Chabin

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(RNS) In what some are calling the biggest miracle in Bethlehem since the birth of Jesus, the three churches that share responsibility for the Nativity church put aside centuries of tense relations this past year to ensure the restoration of the ancient site is completed.