Christmas in Jerusalem in the Holy Land is truly a unique and spiritual Christmas and a meaningful and memorable experience for Christians. Jerusalem is the place where many important events in the life of Jesus and His Disciples occurred. The Christian faith began in Jeruaslem and the Holy Land and Jerusalem is also the place where Jesus was crucified and where He rose from His grave.

Jesus Christ was brought to Jerusalem after His birth in Bethlehem. The Last Supper of Jesus took place on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and Jesus was captured in Gethsemane in Jerusalem. All these places as well as the places where Jesus had taught and walked in Jerusalem are considered as sacred by Christians worldwide. 

Many churches were constructed in these places. Among them, the Holy Sepulcher is most significant. This church was built in fourth century AD and was rebuilt in 1099. This church is built on the hill of Calvary where Jesus was crucified. You can take a unique and free 3D tour of the Church HERE

Other biblical sites in the city, including  the Church of John the Baptist, the Garden Tomb, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Grotto of the Apostles and Mary’s Tomb  are also important to Christians, where people gather from all over the world to pay homage during Christmas.


Christmas in Jerusalem generally coincides with Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light which in many ways resembles the festive spirit of Christmas. Nonetheless, Hanukkah is very different from Christmas in the Western world and this is apparent in Israel. There are no Christmas markets, no Santa Claus or caroling on the streets. The celebrations are mostly centered on the Christian Quarter, with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and in Bethlehem.

However, the Jerusalem churches such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Notre Dame of Jerusalem hosting midnight masses. In this way, Christmas in Jerusalem is also an opportunity to visit some of the holiest sites of Christianity, the Via Dolorosa (The way of sufferings) and Bethlehem. A Christmas mass also take place at Saint James Church in Jerusalem, a unique service as the church has no electricity and is lit solely by the colorful oil lamps hanging in the square stone basilica (reminiscent somewhat of Hanukkah) . Services begin from morning and continue till evening both in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.


Christmas comes three times each year to the city of Jerusalem and  Bethlehem. While the Western Church and Russian Orthodox Church both celebrate Christmas on December 25, the Russian Church still uses the old Julian calendar which places their celebration on January 7 according to our calendar. The Armenian Church celebrates on January 6 by the Julian calendar, which translates as January 19 to us.

For Christmas, the Armenian Patriarch, priests and a marching band make a motorcade procession from the Old City of Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The procession continues on foot to Bethlehem's Manger Square and into the Church of the Nativity.