Byzantine church from the 5th century reopened to the public

The church underwent restoration work that lasted three years and was of fundamental importance for the conservation of Gaza’s history.

Newsroom (01/02/2022 16:59, Gaudium Press) A 5th century Byzantine church, discovered in 1997 near Jabalia, four kilometres north of Gaza, has been reopened to the public after three years of restoration work and funding of some two million euros.

The temple has 400 square metres of mosaics depicting palm trees, fruit trees, bunches of grapes, lions, gazelles, horses, cows and other animals, as well as various Greek inscriptions.

Restoration of fundamental importance for the history of Gaza

According to archaeologist René Elter, the restoration work, carried out by the French NGO ‘Première Urgence Internationale’, in collaboration with the ‘Ecole biblique et archéologique française de Jerusalem’, is of fundamental importance to the history of Gaza as it reflects its Christian period.

According to the French NGO, the mosaics and the entire church were damaged by the passage of tanks during the 2012 war. In addition, the decades of conflict have yielded heavy losses to the historical heritage of the Gaza Strip, which holds the remains of five millennia of history, from the Bronze Age to the years of Ottoman and British rule.

A testimony to the presence of Christianity

Father Gabriel Romanelli, parish priest of the Holy Family Church in Gaza City, expressed his joy at the reopening. “This fact is really very important for the Christian community. Let us not forget that the Gaza Strip has about a thousand Christians. This 5th century church is a testimony to the great presence of Christianity in the whole region,” he stressed.

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“Let us never forget that our parish is called Holy Family, to remind us that the first Christians to pass through Gaza were Jesus with Saint Joseph and Our Lady when they fled from Bethlehem to Egypt. So this inauguration is a great joy for the whole Christian community and the Catholic parish,” he concluded. (EPC)


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