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The Church of the Nativity


The Church of the Nativity is a complex encompassing many structures including the 7th Century Basilica, Saint Catherine’s Church, monasteries and chapels that represent the different Christian denominations that include the Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, and the caves of Saint Jerome, the fourth century monk who translated the Gospels to the vulgate (Latin). The Basilica is one of the earliest and most sacred Christian structures in the world, and was constructed above the cave where Jesus was born during the mandate of Emperor Constantine in 326 AD and by order of his mother Queen Helena. Over the centuries, it underwent successive destruction, reconstruction and expansion until it attained its present morphology. One of the Basilica’s interesting features is the Door of Humility, the main entrance that was downsized in order to deter people from entering this sacred space on horseback. It compels worshipers to bow in order to get through, which is a sign of the respect and humility that is due to this unique space. During the Christmas season, the Church becomes the hub of locals and visitors who flock from all over the world to pay their respects. Today, the Church of the Nativity embraces the following sites: - The Grotto of the Nativity - Grottoes adjacent to the Cave of the Nativity - The Greek Orthodox Convent - The Armenian Monastery - The School of St. Jerome - The Church of St. Catherine - The Cloister of St. Jerome

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