Nativity Church Restoration — A Project we Support
In the year of 2008 and by a Presidential decree, The Presidential Committee for Restoration of the Church of Nativity was established. The Committee is currently headed by Eng. Ziad Albandak and membership of: Marwan Abdelhamid, Varsen Aghabekian, Nazmi Al Jubeh, Khouloud Daibes, Claudette Habesch, Nabil Kassis, Issa Kassissieh and Anton Salman.
By the year of 2010, the Palestinian Authority and the Presidential Committee, after coordinating and getting the approvals from the different concerned churches, announced a design and assessment effort tender. This tender has been established to direct the restoration program of the Nativity Church. The Design agreement was signed off in September 2010 with the selected consortium in the presence and witness of the Prime Minster Dr. Salam Fayyad and the representatives of the three concerned churches, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Holy Land Custody Terra Sancta and the Armenians Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The three stages of design were completed in October 2011. The design package comprised of a final report, tender documents, design drawings and a Bill of Quantities for each component of the restoration program of the Nativity Church.
The Presidential Committee awarded the Italian firm “Piacenti spa” the contract for Phase I: “Roof and Windows Restoration” on July 25, 2013 since their submitted tender proposal on June 14, 2013 got the highest scores in both technical and financial offers throughout a competitive international bidding process.
On August 26, 2013 an agreement was signed between the Palestinian Presidential Committee for the Restoration of the Church of Nativity as Employer and Piacenti S.p.a. – Italy as the “Contractor” to start the first phase of restoration “Roof & Windows” .The late Mr. Said Khoury, Co-Founder of Consolidated Contractors company (CCC) and founder of the Bethlehem Development Foundation (BDF), spearheaded the needed studies and was the first to fund these restorations in 2011. In 2013 and beyond, BDF was able to secure a generous donation of $1M from The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to fund the restoration of the external facades and internal plaster.
In September 2018 BDF secured funding from the Levant Foundation to fund the restoration of the last 11 columns of the central nave of the Nativity Church.
Since the commencement of the restoration works on September 15, 2013, the Committee has been receiving generous donations from different donors, which enabled them to start and complete other restoration tasks based on a list of priorities and according to the final study recommendations. These additional works included the restoration of the narthex, the narthex eastern wooden door, the external stone façades, internal wall plastering, wall mosaic, the Basilica metal doors, wooden architraves, the installation of the electrical systems “lighting and smoke detection systems”, 33 columns out of the Basilica 50 columns and two portions of the floor mosaic.