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10 Facts About Palestinian Christians From History to Everyday Life

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 10:09 AM

Palestinian Christians are among the longest established Christian communities in the world. Hailing from the birthplace of Christ, they have a great history and are regarded by many as being the guardians of ancient Christianity.

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Here are 10 facts about Palestinian Christians :

1. Palestinian Christians are part of the oldest Christian communities in the world. The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, where Jesus was born is in their homeland.

2. Palestinian Christians belong to 15 different denominations. The majority are Greek Orthodox, with the rest made up of Roman Catholics, Armenian Orthodox, Copts, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other Christian faiths.

3. The Romans made Palestine a Christian country in the fourth century with Jerusalem as its capital. It was only with the spread of Islam in the seventh century that Christianity declined in the area.

4. Palestinian Christians suffered under Islamic rule for the next five hundred years. The Crusades sent to free the Holy Land succeeded for a short time until Islam reestablished rule in the early 12th century.

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5. Arabic is the spoken language of Palestinian Christians today, though some still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

6. There is a worldwide population of Palestinian Christians of about 400,000 people with approximately 125,000 still living in the Holy Land.

7. Palestinian Christians have a history of emigration due to persecution in the Holy Land. Nearly 56,000 of their community left immediately after the Israeli-Arab War of 1948. Many now live in countries such as the US and Canada, but some stayed in nearby countries in the Middle East.

8. Palestinian Christians worship in churches that are decorated very beautifully, with interiors covered in frescos and paintings. Services are long and elaborate with worshippers free to come and go as they choose.

9. For Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, Christmas is the major celebration of the year, while for those in Jerusalem, Easter is the most important time of the year.

10. About 80 percent of Palestinian Christians are of Arab descent with the majority of the balance made up of Russian immigrants during the 1990s.

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