Press Release to all Media Providers (2nd January 2017)
The Bethlehem Flame of Peace
– Information on its origin, its distribution and its significance.
At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, burns a flame at the site of Christ’s birth. This flame, kept lit for centuries, is the Bethlehem Peace Light, symbolizing peace, love, and goodness. Christian nations from around the world take turns donating the oil to ensure that this Peace Light is never extinguished. It is said that in the 12th century a crusader brought home a gift of the Peace Light for his family to share this great goodness.
Sharing of the Bethlehem Peace Light in modern times began in 1986, when a radio station in Linz, Austria, began a charitable relief mission for children in need. Since then, every year before Christmas, a chosen child lights a flame from the Bethlehem Peace Light. This flame is then flown to Vienna, from where scouts of every nationality have taken it upon themselves as their mission to distribute the Bethlehem Peace Light to as many communities as possible.
At first, the Bethlehem Peace Light was primarily distributed in Europe. By train, bus, car, and bicycle the Light is transported from city to city and shared especially with those, like the elderly and sick, who need some extra Christmas warmth. People also use the Bethlehem Peace Light to light their candles during Christmas dinner and in churches during Christmas services.
In 2008, Austrian scouts flew the Bethlehem Peace Light to the United States. Representatives from various scouting organizations met at the airport and began the distribution of the flame throughout this country.
For the third consecutive year, this year, in Malta, Baden Powell Scouts Malta travelled to Catania on the 31st December 2016, to obtain the live Bethlehem Peace Light from Scouts (FSE) Federazione Scout Europa in Catania.
The Peace Flame, with us today carries with it a message of Hope, of Goodness and of love. Today we have all gathered here to celebrate and pray for Peace for all mankind, irrespective of the diversity of our cultures and our different faiths which inevitably constitute Maltese society today and tomorrow.
On Saturday, 7th January, 2017, a simple but significant ceremony will be presided by H.E. The President of Malta, Marie Louise Coliero Preca at San Anton Gardens. The General Public, representatives of all denominations and of civil society are invited to this manifestation of Peace.
The possibility of bringing over to the Maltese Islands, a live Bethlehem Peace Light has always been with the invaluable assistance of the Directors and Staff of Virtu Ferries Ltd.
31st December, 2016