Gifts from Bethlehem - Olivewood Handcrafted from the Holy Land - A Traditional Art and Livelihood for Holy Land Christians - September 8th and 9th
The handicrafts trade evolved as a cultural tradition of Christians in the Holy Land for many centuries. This indigenous form of art has since become an industry of great importance to the local people of the Holy Land who rely on it for livelihood, and to Christian pilgrims from all around the world whose holy pilgrimage can be memorialized for a lifetime in cherished olive wood or mother of pearl souvenirs. The olive wood carving market is the major source of income in the Bethlehem area. More than 65 percent of the income of the community in Bethlehem comes from this work.
In recent years, however, the holy crafts trade has suffered many hardships due to social and economical pressures. Because of a sharp fall in tourism and also as a result of diminishing numbers of craftsmen who leave their traditional trade and emigrate due to the difficult conditions in their homeland, the Holy Land handicraft market is facing serious danger, and so is the Christian community in the Land. Sixty five years ago the Christians represented more than 28% of the total population in the Holy Land, today they are less than 1.5%.The loss of Christians in the land of Christianity’s birth will represent a tragedy of immeasurable proportions for the billions of Christians worldwide.
Thank you for your vital support for a Christian tradition and in protecting this very important culture and industry.