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Church of the Nativity

The site of Jesus' birth and one of the most famous churches in Christendom

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After the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of the Nativity is the most famous church in Christendom, being the site of Jesus' birth.


The Church is built over a cave that would have been the lower floor of a two-story house: humans above, animals below. The biblical "inn" was actually a "quest room" attached to the patriarchal home, and by the time Joseph and Mary arrived for the census, this room was already filled allowing no privacy. For privacy, Mary was placed downstairs with the animals.

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From the Scriptures

Luke Chapter 2:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirini-us was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Revised Standard Version, (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.) 1973, 1977.



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