Oldest - Continuously Operating Christian Church in the World - Bethleem, Palestine
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member denben
N 31° 42.263 E 035° 12.429
36R E 709166 N 3509787
Quick Description: The Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem, Palestinian territories, and is considered to be the oldest continuously operating Christian church in the world and the birthplace of Jesus.
Location: Palestine
Date Posted: 2/24/2013 5:38:56 PM
Waymark Code: WMGF4Q
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 8

Long Description:
A church was first completed in 339 AD and the present edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route.

The main entrance to the Church of the Nativity is called “The Door of Humility” because it is only about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and when you pass through it, you must bow down to enter.

The Grotto of the Nativity, an underground cave located beneath the basilica, enshrines the site where Jesus is said to have been born. The exact spot is marked beneath an altar by a 14-pointed silver star set into the marble floor and surrounded by silver lamps. This altar is denominationally neutral, although it features primarily Armenian Apostolic influences. Another altar in the Grotto, which is maintained by the Roman Catholics, marks the site where traditionally Mary laid the newborn Baby in the manger.

The church is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. All three traditions maintain monastic communities on the site. As a result, however, there have been repeated brawls among monk trainees over quiet respect for others' prayers, hymns and even the division of floorspace for cleaning duties. The Palestinian police have been called to restore peace and order.

In 2012, the church complex became the first Palestinian site to be listed as a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session on 29 June. The site is also on UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. The present state of the church is worrying. Many roof timbers are rotting, and have not been replaced since the 19th century. The rainwater that seeps into the building not only accelerates the rotting of the wood and damages the structural integrity of the building, but also damages the 12th-century wall mosaics and paintings.

Our pictures show 1- the outside of the Church of the Nativity, 2- the Door of Humility (main entrance), 3- the 14-pointed silver star marking Jesus birthplace, 4- the manger in the Grotto of the Nativity, 5- the Greek Orthodox iconostasis, 6- the mosaic over the altar in St. Jerome's chapel depicting St. Eustochium, St. Paula, St. Jerome and his successor at the head of the monactic community, St. Eusebius of Cremona and 7- St. Jerome's Cave where he translated the Hebrew Bible into latin known as the Vulgate.

Sources: Wikipedia (visit link) and (visit link)
Type of documentation of superlative status: Website

Location of coordinates: At the Door of Humility, the main entrance

Web Site: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:


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Recent Visits/Logs:
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DrakMrak visited Oldest - Continuously Operating Christian Church in the World - Bethleem, Palestine 11/22/2019 DrakMrak visited it
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Moggus visited Oldest - Continuously Operating Christian Church in the World - Bethleem, Palestine 11/10/2015 Moggus visited it
Trevelyan77 visited Oldest - Continuously Operating Christian Church in the World - Bethleem, Palestine 12/28/2013 Trevelyan77 visited it
Mito-80 visited Oldest - Continuously Operating Christian Church in the World - Bethleem, Palestine 12/17/1996 Mito-80 visited it

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