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GRODNO, 20 December (BelTA) – The Peace Light from Bethlehem has arrived in Belarus, BelTA has learned.
The light lit from the Lampion of the Bethlehem Basilica of the Nativity of Christ has reached the Belarusian border. Representatives of Belarusian youth organizations have brought it to the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, the main Catholic church of Grodno. The cathedral celebrated the arrival of the Bethlehem light with a solemn mass.
The Grodno catholic youth lit lampads from the Bethlehem light to take them to other parishes of the Grodno Eparchy. Believers will be able to light a candle or a lampad and take the Bethlehem light home. The light will stay there until Christmas. On 7 January Catholic priests pass the Peace Light to Orthodox priests.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem will arrive at the Minsk Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary on 21 December. The light will be brought into the temple ahead of the Sunday mass. It is expected that partaking in the ceremony of welcoming the Peace Light from Bethlehem in Minsk will be Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz.
The Eparchy explained that the Bethlehem light symbolizes ardent faith, Christian love, and the warmth of Christmas.
The tradition of bringing the Christmas light from Bethlehem to Europe was started by the Austrian ORF TV company from the city of Linz in 1988. Initially it was a charity campaign designed to help children with disabilities, diseased and distressed people, and children living in orphanages and boarding schools. The campaign became popular due to the scouts. The light is delivered to Vienna from Bethlehem by plane in a special container, and then the scouts bring it to other countries, including Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.