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Christmas creche is an ‘icon’ of love

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Months of work and donations went into transforming a Doonside school shed into a re-creation of the Christmas story. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

Sydney’s Melkite Catholic faithful are paying visits to a very special family in their new Doonside home.

Bishop Robert Rabbat, Eparch of Melkite Catholic Church in Australia and New Zealand, blessed and officially opened a large grotto with nativity last Sunday which had been built by scouts from Our Lady of the Dormition Melkite Catholic parish.

The grotto took two months to create in a shed at the adjacent John Vianney Primary School and includes the Holy Family, manger, animals, a well and a recreation of buildings representing Bethlehem and Jerusalem including the Solomon Temple.

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Materials were all donated from the parish led by parish priest Father Tony Abouchaaya.

Bishop Rabbat said that the nativity scene or Christmas crèche is an icon that teaches important theological truths and should be the centre of every church and family’s Christmas decorations.

A miniature Bethlehem was created as part of the parish’s nativity creche. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“It represents the events of Bethlehem described eloquently in the Byzantine Vespers hymn for the Feast of the Nativity: ‘When the Lord Jesus was born of the Virgin, all creation was enlightened. “Behold: the shepherds keep watch, the Magi adore, Angels sing hymns of praise, and Herod trembles, for the Saviour of our souls has appeared in the flesh’,” he said.

The grotto at 17 Cameron St, Doonside is opened for visits from 20, 21, 23 and 24 December from 6.30pm-8.30pm and on 15 and 22 December and Christmas Day from 11am-2pm.

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