BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian officials say what they believe to be a new baptismal font has been discovered at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, allowing for more studies about Jesus’ traditional birthplace.
Ziad al-Bandak, head of a Palestinian presidential committee leading the church renovation, said Saturday that international experts are arriving in the biblical West Bank town to examine the receptacle.
Al-Bandak described the Byzantine font as a “magnificent” discovery that had been covered by the larger known vessel.
In 2013, UNESCO declared the church a World Heritage site and a restoration project was launched five years ago to overcome decades of neglect at the historic church.
During holidays, especially Christmas, the church attracts pilgrims and tourists to the occupied West Bank town.