Hundreds of pilgrims and Palestinian officials attended the midnight mass at the Church of Nativity, led by Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal on Thursday in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus.
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah and many other officials have attended the mass at the church.
Twal, who let a cleric read his statement, called for peace in the region before starting the mass.
"Recently, many painful incidents had happened in our beloved (Middle) East, and still happening here and everywhere in the world. We can assert on that we lost our humanity and our spiritual values. Being religious has become a reason for killing by the name of God instead of being a motivation for mercy and brotherhood," Twal said.
"Our beloved brothers, during this night, that the kindness of our savior had appeared during, lets pray to our God. We trust, not our behaviors but his (God's) mercy," Twal prayed in Latin later.
Twal, made his way through the Bethlehem checkpoint at the Israeli built separation barrier earlier on Thursday, on his way to lead Christmas festivities in the West Bank town. Twal is expected to lead Christmas morning mass at the town.