A fragment of wood reputed to be from the manger where Jesus was laid after his humble birth was on Saturday transferred to Bethlehem for the official launch of the Christmas season after going on display in Jerusalem.
The wood piece, just a few centimeters long, was once kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It was handed over earlier this week to the custodian of the Bethlehem church, who said it brought "great honor to believers and pilgrims in the area".
It was unveiled to the public at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, encased in a silver-colored ornamental table-top stand.
It was taken to Bethlehem on Saturday as cheerful crowds greeted the relic with much fanfare before it entered the Franciscan Church of Saint Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity.
The relic arrived in time for the lighting of the Christmas tree.