History of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem
The most visited site in Bethlehem is the Church of Nativity on Manger Square. It is the oldest church in the world that is still in use by the local community and that is visited by over two million pilgrims every year.
The Church of Nativity is on the UNESCO world heritage list together with the pilgrimage route that passes through today's Star Street. This is the road that Mary and Joseph would have taken to reach Bethlehem where they had to go because of the Roman census organized by Quirinius. When they did not find a place to sleep in a 'kataluma' which is often translated as inn, but in Bethlehem it is interpreted as a guestroom, they were offered to stay in one of the many caves that are so common in the landscape.
Most people in the West grow up with the image of Jesus in a wooden manger in a wooden stable. But the Church of Nativity is built over the cave that has a very early tradition of veneration for being the birthplace of Jesus.
In this episode we explore the history of the church and the biblical account. In the following episode you can go on an audio tour inside the Church!
If you want to read along you can find the full transcript of this episode on the website.
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