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21 December 2015

Grodno welcomes Peace Light from Bethlehem

GRODNO, 21 December (BelTA) – The Peace Light from Bethlehem has arrived in Belarus, BelTA has learned.

The light lit from the Lampion of the Bethlehem Basilica of the Nativity of Christ reached the Belarusian border on 19 December. Representatives of Belarusian youth organizations brought it to the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, the main Catholic church of Grodno. The cathedral celebrated the arrival of the Bethlehem light with a solemn mass with the participation of bishop Alexander Kashkevich. The Grodno catholic youth lit lampads from the Bethlehem light to take them to other parishes of the Grodno Eparchy. Believers will be able to light a candle or a lampad and take the Bethlehem light home.

The Peace Light from Bethlehem arrived at the Minsk Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary the same day, on 19 December. The light was brought into the temple ahead of the Sunday mass.

The Bethlehem light symbolizes ardent faith, Christian love, and the warmth of Christmas.

The tradition of bringing the Christmas light from Bethlehem to Europe was started by the Austrian ORF TV company from the city of Linz in 1988. Initially it was a charity campaign designed to help children with disabilities, diseased and distressed people, and children living in orphanages and boarding schools. The campaign became popular due to the scouts. The light is delivered to Vienna from Bethlehem by plane in a special container, and then the scouts bring it to other countries, including Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.