The Church of the Nativity is located in the town of Bethlehem and with the Church of the Resurrection of Christ; it’s among the holiest Christian sites in the world.
The most sacred part of the church is Grotto. It contains a silver star with fourteen arms on which is written “Hic de Virgine Maria Iesus Christus natus est”. The star actually marks the place where Jesus was born.
Inside the church there are remains of the first church, built during the time of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century.
Bethlehem in Hebrew means house of bread, and in Arabic house of meat. It is situated only about ten kilometers from Jerusalem.
Bethlehem was the capital of the tribe of Judah (one of the 12 tribes of Israel). The first mention of the town is linked the death of one of the four mothers of the Jewish people – Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel.
The interior of the Church of the Nativity
At the entrance to the church there are frames of the front door from the time of Byzantines, Crusaders and the smallest door – “Door of Humiliation” from the time of the Ottoman Empire. The interior of the church has preserved the architectural base of the church from the sixth century. In Constantine’s church, the floor was covered with a mosaic that thanks to the archaeological work of the British in 1932 is preserved to this day. Byzantine church has been completely covered with marble.
The interior is divided by a colonnade of 12 columns in four rows. Pillars were made of reddish stone from Bethlehem, and on each eastern and western saints, monks, and world donors were painted.
The mosaics, which are located above the pillars are an amazing work of artists and divided into three groups. The lowest shows Jesus’ genealogy, the middle one shows the general and local synods while the highest one – the procession of angels. Currently, they are not open for public due to the restoration work on the roof.
If you want to visit and find out more about The Church of Nativity, look for contact information of Tanya Ben Haim Marcetic in the contact section of the website and make your tour of Israel a unique experience that you’ll never forget!