Madrid church recreates nativity scene with drowned refugee child
Fiona Govan · 15 Dec 2015, 16:13
Published: 15 Dec 2015 16:13 GMT+01:00
- Black actor to replace 'blacked up' politican in Christmas kings parade (15 Dec 15)
- The bodies of 11 drowned migrants have been found off Canary Islands (09 Dec 15)
- First refugees arrive in Spain under 'desperately slow' relocation plan (10 Nov 15)
In early September the young boy washed up on a Turkish beach as his family fled Syria and attempted to reach Europe.
The photograph of the child lying facedown in the sand was published worldwide and served to symbolize the desperate plight of refugees flooding into Europe.
The image was seen by an estimated 20 million people across the world within just 12 hours, and galvanized European governments, including Spain, into taking action.
Now the image has been incorporated within a polemic adaptation of the traditional 'Belén' in an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of refugees this Christmas.
The figure of Aylan takes the place of the baby Jesus while his griefstricken parents take the role of Mary and Joseph. Instead of a stable, the trio are sheltered by a refugee tent with reproductions of drawings by refugee children of their journeys.
The San Anton Church in Madrid’s downtown Chueca district has already earned a reputation as a forward thinking parish where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.
The nativity scene, which was designed by Spanish artist Ikella Alonso for the Messengers of Peace Foundation, an NGO working with refugees, can be viewed at anytime until January 6th as the the church on Calle Hortaleza is open 24 hours.
It is not the first nativity scene to draw attention to the refugee crisis. Earlier this month Pope Francis lit the Christmas tree at the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi unveiling a Nativity scene set up within a boat used by refugees.