World's Christians celebrate Christmas

World’s Christians celebrate Christmas

  • 24 December 2015
  • From the section World
A general view shows Pope Francis celebrating a mass on Christmas eve to mark the birth of Jesus Christ on December 24, 2015 at St Pater's basilica in VaticanImage copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Close to 10,000 people attended the service in St Peter’s Basilica

Across the world, Christians have begun marking Christmas with services, with Pope Francis holding midnight mass at the Vatican.

In the holy city of Bethlehem, the West Bank town where it is believed that Jesus was born, events have been overshadowed by recent violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

“There’s lights, there’s carols, but there’s an underlying sense of tension,” one pilgrim to Bethlehem, Briton Paul Haines, told Associated Press news agency.

Bethlehem

Image copyright EPA
Image caption An Armenian priest prays during Mass in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, accepted by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus Christ
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nigerian pilgrims pray inside inside the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bethlehem has been the scene of violent clashes in late 2015

Vatican City

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Pope Francis said Christmas was the time to “once more discover who we are”

Beijing

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption A cross-bearer prepares to enter Beijing’s Catholic Church for Mass
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The US and British embassies in China had issued a warning about a terror threat in Beijing
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Young Chinese worshippers attend the Christmas Eve Mass in China’s capital

Iraq

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Hundreds attended Mass at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Deliverance/Salvation in central Baghdad
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Christians in Iraq have faced persecution by the so-called Islamic State

Indonesia

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of people held candles at a service in the city of Surabaya
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Indonesia was one of the first countries to mark Christmas Day

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