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Bethlehem Church undergoing major restoration revealing amazing art from 6th Century AD

An ancient heart-warming mosaic of an angel, that stayed hidden for many decades at the church on the holy site where Jesus Christ is thought to have been born, has now been recovered by conservationists.

Amidst all the chaos and unrest in the Middle East, a team of Italian conservationists have been working in close collaboration with Palestinian authorities on a massive project that aims at restoring the Church of Nativity located in Bethlehem, situated in Occupied West Bank; an immensely sacred site for Christians.

Mosaic of the XII century, which is preserved on the walls Source:Mosaic of the XII century, which is preserved on the walls
Mosaic of the XII century, which is preserved on the walls Source: Автор: Darko Tepert Donatus – собственная работа, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Attempts have been made to restore the windows and roof of the ancient Church, and it was during this work that an exquisite mosaic of an angel, hidden there for centuries, revealed itself.

The mosaic has now been painstakingly brought to life in its full color and galore. The restoration of the mosaic was no easy affair, with much time being invested recovering it one tile at a time.

west facade of the Nativity of the time of Justinian, VI century. mosaic Source:Автор: Dr. A.G. Walls -, CC BY 3.0,
West facade of the Nativity of the time of Justinian, VI century. mosaic Source: Автор: Dr. A.G. Walls –, CC BY 3.0, 8

Special thermal cameras, normally used by the military at night, were deployed to scan the walls for traces of any other angels hiding in plain sight.

Mr. Giammarco Piacenti, CEO of the Piacenti Restoration Company – which is leading the project – said that the project took a whole new spiritual turn once the Angel was revealed from behind the wall. Once the peeling of the plaster hiding the angel was completed the total number of angels on the walls of the church became seven; the seventh angel with his outstretched arm is now pointing towards the direction of the cave where it is understood that Jesus was born.

Christmas Services in the Church Souce:wikipedia/public domain
Christmas Services in the Church Souce:Wikipedia/public domain

Another interesting anecdote that came out of the discovery of the seventh angel was the fact that excavator who worked on the project, who is also the niece of the CEO Mr. Piacenti and who actually revealed the angel, became pregnant. People started talking about the miracle while Mr. Piacenti said that all of the family is talking about that it seems like the angel has blessed my niece for her work and efforts.

The ongoing restoration project is largely threatened by the limited availability of the funding; the complete task requires 7.5 million euros on top of 11 million dollars it has already received. The reason the cost is so high is that researchers are hoping to restore all of the 50 columns first erected in the 6th century with paintings of famous crusaders from the time. The organizers are encouraging wealthy donors to adopt a column and help restore one of the holiest places on earth for Christians worldwide. Ida Molinaro, who is a professional restorer, is currently working painstakingly on the color restoration on the columns and suggests that each of the 50 columns costs roughly the upwards of 50,000 euros to fully restore.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News