Much of the Christian world was marking Christmas Day with midnight masses and other services to celebrate the birth of Jesus.The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, regarded as the birthplace of Jesus, was hosting mass while Pope Francis presided over the service at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Across the world churchgoers marked the occasion although some denominations, including Orthodox Christians, celebrate the feast in January while Notre Dame in Paris was unable to host a mass following the fire that gutted it.
Clergymen participate in Christmas celebrations outside the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, on Christmas Eve, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem (Majdi Mohammed/AP)
Pope Francis kisses a statue of Baby Jesus (Alessandra Tarantino/AP
Pope Francis celebrates Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
People light candles during a Catholic Christmas Eve mass in St Antoine Church, the largest church of the Roman Catholic Church, in Istanbul (Emrah Gurel/AP)
Candles in Istanbul (Emrah Gurel/AP)
Fire-ravaged Notre Dame in Paris could not host a Christmas Mass this year (Thibault Camus/AP)
Priests attend the Christmas celebration midnight Mass at the Cathedral-Basilica in Vilnius, Lithuania (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)
A Palestinian priest holds a golden cross during the Christian Eve prayer at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza City (Khalil Hamra/AP)
Pakistani Christians attend midnight services at St Anthony’s Church in Lahore (K.M. Chaudary/AP)
Iranian Christians celebrate the Christmas Eve mass at the Saint Joseph Chaldean-Assyrian Catholic church, in Tehran (Vahid Salemi/AP)
A Christmas mass, in Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois church, in Paris (Thibault Camus/PA)