Authorities in Bethlehem hope UNESCO's recent admission of Palestine will enable them to list the church on the site of Jesus' traditional birthplace as a World Heritage Site.
The Church of the Nativity is one of the holiest places in Christendom. Pilgrims come from all over the world to visit, but due to conflicts in the region, it has been neglected for decades. Officials say that the roof is in particular need of repair because the centuries-old and brittle wooden beams present a danger to visitors. Leaks have ruined many of the priceless mosaics and paintings.
A silver star in the church is the focal point for visitors which, according to tradition, marks the place where Jesus was born.
The church, which was originally built in 327 CE, has not had any major repairs for over 50 years. Estimated repair costs exceed $13,114,000 (or 10 million Euros).