‘Magnificent’ baptismal font discovered at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, Palestinian officials say

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An ancient 1,500-year-old baptismal font has been discovered during renovation work at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is Jesus’ birthplace, according to Christian tradition. The font is estimated to date back to between 501 and 600 A.D.

Ziad al-Bandak, head of a Palestinian presidential committee leading the church renovation, said Saturday that international experts are arriving in the biblical West Bank town to examine the receptacle.

Al-Bandak described the Byzantine font as a “magnificent” discovery that had been covered by the larger known vessel.

Palestinian Minister and Head of Restoration Commission for Church of the Nativity, Ziad al-Bandak (C) holds a press conference on the discovery of a baptismal font at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank on June 22, 2019.

Palestinian Minister and Head of Restoration Commission for Church of the Nativity, Ziad al-Bandak (C) holds a press conference on the discovery of a baptismal font at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank on June 22, 2019.(Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

UNESCO World Heritage site, the Church of the Nativity is located about 6.2 miles south of Jerusalem. The church is built on the site identified as Jesus’ birthplace by Christian tradition.

A restoration project was launched five years ago to overcome decades of neglect at the historic church.

Palestinian news agency WAFA reports that a ceremony to celebrate the end of the restoration project, which was planned for November, has been pushed back to May 2020. The postponement will allow the three churches in charge of the Church of the Nativity to undertake a restoration of the church’s grotto, WAFA reports.

A baptismal font is discovered at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank on June 22, 2019. Baptismal font at the Church of the Nativity, considered to be the birthplace of Jesus, is estimated to be from the 501-600 A.D.

A baptismal font is discovered at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank on June 22, 2019. Baptismal font at the Church of the Nativity, considered to be the birthplace of Jesus, is estimated to be from the 501-600 A.D. (Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The baptismal font was discovered during restoration work at the Church of the Nativity.

The baptismal font was discovered during restoration work at the Church of the Nativity. (Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

In a separate project at the site of an ancient city on the West Bank, archaeologists have been hunting for evidence of the tabernacle that once housed the Ark of the Covenant.

A Nigerian man who got what can best be described as a second chance at life after he emerged unscathed from an accident that wrecked his car, has taken to Twitter to express his gratitude to God.
See more photos of the wrecked car below.

Callum Hudson-Odoi: One chat with Frank Lampard convinced Chelsea winger to stay

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Callum Hudson-Odoi and Frank Lampard
Callum Hudson-Odoi has made 11 appearances for Chelsea this season

Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi says it took only one conversation with new boss Frank Lampard to convince him to stay at Stamford Bridge.

But having made 24 appearances for the Blues he ruptured his Achilles tendon against Burnley on 22 April and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, missing the Europa League final victory over Arsenal.

He was also sidelined for the Nations League finals, but shortly after Lampard’s arrival he agreed a new five-year contract.

Since returning to fitness Hudson-Odoi has helped Chelsea to third in the Premier League, earning a place in the England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo.

Asked how many conversations he had with Lampard before agreeing to sign a new deal, he replied: “One. I can’t say exactly what he said but he just said he believes in me, he wants me to work hard and if I believe in myself then he believes in me and things will go well for me at this club.”

Players ‘all good’ about Lampard’s fine system

Chelsea attracted attention off the field this week when a photograph of Lampard’s list of fines for first-team players was leaked.

The list revealed that any player late for training would be fined £20,000 and that all penalties had to be paid within 14 days – or be doubled.

“To be fair, we have a couple of fines where it’s pretty strict and we have to stick by it,” Hudson-Odoi explained.

“But even if there weren’t fines, we would still be on point. All of us are very on time with everything that we do.

“We’re very positive about everything we do. If there is a fine, we will pay it.

“For the fines, we don’t really look into it because we are always on time for what we do so it’s OK. It’s there but we’re all good about it.

“He is hard on me but it’s in a good way because he wants me to improve and keep getting better.

“When the manager is telling me stuff, I always want to listen and improve my game because I’m not there yet. I know I can always get better and keep getting better.”

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