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A fragment of wood reputed to be from the manger where Jesus was laid after his humble birth arrived in Bethlehem as a gift from the Vatican on Saturday, kicking off Christmas season at the town revered as the place of Jesus’ birth.

The wood piece, just a few centimeters (inches) long, was once kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It was handed over earlier in the week to the custodian of the Bethlehem church, who said it brought “great honor to believers and pilgrims in the area.”

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