Built in 1882 on the remains of a Crusader church it is from here that Mass is broadcast to the world on Christmas eve. Steps to the right of the main church lead down to a number of underground caverns which connect to the Nativity Grotto under the Orthodox Church.

Possibly early burial caves the first chamber is where St. Jerome, whose 4th century translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin became the basis for the Vulgate, lived and worked. His tomb, and that of sisters Paula and Eustochium, are in the second chamber. Adjoining these are the chapels of St. Joseph and of the Innocent children as well as the tomb of Eusebius.

A statue of St. Jerome with a skull at its base, to symbolize his ascetic life style, stands in the courtyard of the beautifully restored Crusader cloister in front of the church.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

Other sites in this area

The Milk Grotto

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Manger Square in Bethlehem

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Armenian Chapel of the Kings

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