BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal arrived on Tuesday to the Church of the Nativity to start the celebration of Christmas.
Twal was greeted by Bethlehem governor Abd al-Fattah Hamayel, Minister of Tourism Rula Maayah, Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun, and Presidential Adviser for Christian Affairs Ziad Bandak.
Thousands of residents, tourists, and Christian pilgrims waited at Nativity Square for the start of the celebrations, greeted the Patriarch as he arrived.
After his arrival, Twal gave a message spreading peace and love to all the nations of the world.
President Mahmoud Abbas, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh are also expected to arrive in Bethlehem later Tueday to participate in the celebrations and attend the annual midnight mass.
Every year on Dec. 24, the Latin Patriarch marches from Jerusalem to mark the beginning of Christmas celebrations.