Sermon Illustrations

Illustration 4300 Star Over Christ’s Birthplace

A Silver Star hanging over the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem was the cause of a war which involved five world powers, lasted three long years, and caused a million casualties as well as a billion and a half dollars. This was known as the Crimean War (1853–56). For many years, the Silver Star decorating the site of Christ’s birth had been an object of controversy. The Eastern Orthodox clergy wanted to replace it with a star of its own; the Latin clergy objected. The former were backed by Russia and the latter by France. When Turkey—which then ruled over the Holy Land—sided with the Latins, Russia declared war on Turkey.

Great Britain, France and Italy then rallied to Turkey’s side. The Allies finally won. But the Russians topped off the affair with an act of extreme sacrilege. They sold at auction for fertilizer the bleached bones of 38,000 Russian soldiers who fell in the battle of Sevastopol. Two years later in 1958, the Silver Star was permanently taken off. (Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.)