Since 1986, a delegation from the country has been flying to Israel with ORF Upper Austria before Advent to receive the light in Bethlehem with the Peace Light Child. However, due to the current situation, the trip could not take place this year.
- More on the subject: Governor Stelzer cancels Peace Light trip to Israel in 2023
The international Christmas symbol was therefore brought from the grotto of Jesus’ birth by a Christian child from Bethlehem. The 12-year-old Pillar Jarayseh lit the light, which was then brought to Amman – due to the limited air traffic to Tel Aviv – and from there flown to Austria on an Austrian Airlines airliner.
In Vienna it was handed over to this year’s Peace Light child, Michael Putz (10) from Steyr. The helpful student was chosen because of his involvement with the Boy Scouts, the Young Fire Department and the altar boys. “I have known the peace light from a young age because it is a part of Christmas in our family,” says the ten-year-old.
“This year more than ever, the Peace Light is a strong sign of the longing for peace, which gives hope and confidence to so many people,” said ORF Upper Austria regional director Klaus Obereder at the reception of the light at Vienna-Schwechat Airport. Governor Thomas Stelzer was also there (VP): “I am glad that we managed to get the light of peace this year under difficult conditions. The message of peace is more relevant than ever and a task for all of us to work and stand up for it day after day,” said Stelzer.
Guest at the ORF Gala and Silbereisen
Michael’s first big appearance as a Peace Light Child will be on Saturday at the “Gala for Light in the Dark” at 8:15 p.m. on ORF 2. This will be broadcast live from Plus City in Pasching. The young Styrian will also present the Upper Austrian Christmas tradition at the Eurovision show “Advent Festival of 100,000 Lights” with Florian Silbereisen on December 2nd.
On Saturday, December 16th, the light of peace from Bethlehem will be the focus of the program “A Christmas Custom Goes Around the World” (6 p.m., ORF 2). Long-time partners who distribute the bright Christmas symbol throughout Austria are guests at Schlierbach Abbey.
The Peace Light can be picked up on December 24th in all ORF state studios, at all occupied train stations and in all Red Cross offices, at many fire departments and also in many churches.
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