A reliquary containing a piece of wood from the manger in which Jesus is believed to have slept went on display in Jerusalem.

"This is a Christmas gift from His Holiness the Pope to the Holy Land of Palestine and leadership and to the Palestinian people. It indicates the strength of the relationship between the State of Palestine and the Holy See, and more importantly, a message of love, hope and a message of peace from His Holiness to Bethlehem and the Palestinian people," said Issa Kassissieh, Palestinian Ambassador to the Vatican.

The manger was sent to the Vatican in the seventh century.

"The wooden structure of the manger is too fragile to transfer it from Rome to the Holy Land and so the Pope chose to offer a piece of this wooden structure," said Bishop Antonio from the Chapel of Our Lady of Jerusalem.

The tiny wooden relic was unveiled ahead of its transfer to Bethlehem for the ceremony of lightening up a Christmas tree in front of the Church of Nativity which starts the season of Christmas celebrations.

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