If pilgrims worshipping in the Church of the Nativity look up at the roof, they will see a battlefield threatening the future of one of Christendom’s most holy sites.

Squabbling over crucial roof repairs between the three Christian communities who share custodianship of Jesus’s birthplace is endangering the 1,500-year-old basilica.

Large holes in the 500-year-old lead roof have let rainwater flood inside for years. It streams down the walls and threatens to wash away Crusader-era murals and destroy Byzantine mosaics. ~The Daily Telegraph

Via Orthodoxy Today Blog.

The need for preserving one of the greatest shrines and pilgrimage sites in the Christian world, to say nothing of the importance of preserving the church’s images for their historical and art historical value, really must transcend all other considerations. As an aspiring Byzantinist, I find the disrepair of this site especially appalling. Of course, I am Orthodox, and I won’t quibble with the claims the Orthodox have made with respect to the arrangements concerning the church’s management and control, but it is an embarrassment and a terrible failure to allow one of our greatest churches to fall into such a state of disrepair. If it were simply a problem of the necessary resources or expertise, I find it hard to believe that all local Orthodox churches would not come to the aid of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.