Palestinian officials believe they have discovered a new baptismal font in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
According to the Associated Press, the head of a Palestinian presidential committee Ziad al-Bandak noted that the Church of the Nativity – known as the place traditionally believed to be where Jesus was born – is currently undergoing extensive renovations and restoration.
Reportedly, the font, which is believed to be from the 5thor 6thcentury was covered by another water receptacle and was discovered during the renovation process.
“Another circular baptismal font was discovered hidden inside the existing octagonal baptismal font,” al-Bandak said, before calling the discovery “magnificent,” the Times of Israel reports.
Al-Bandak also noted that he was unsure of why it was covered, but that it appeared to have been built one to two hundred years after the church, which is believed to have been erected in the 4thCentury.
He said, "Nobody knows why it has been covered and put in this place and never written in any historical book about it, either in the Church or in the historical books. This is for sure a baptism font from the 6th, maybe 6th or 5th century,” CBN News reports.
Al-Bandak has shared that international experts will be examining the newly discovered baptismal font. He believes the discovery of the receptible will allow for even more studies to be done on the historic church.
The restoration leader also noted that there will be a ceremony when the restoration and renovation of the church are completed in the summer of 2020.
According to the AP, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem – which was declared a West Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013 – is a high traffic location for Christians and pilgrims from around the world.
Reportedly the site brings in a particularly high volume of traffic during the holidays – particularly Christmas.
Photo courtesy: Screenshot the Associated Press
Video courtesy: Associated Press