|behind the chapel
is a cave used for worship
|a wooden nativity
scene in the cave
|walls are black
with soot from candles used in worship
Adjoining the chapel are the remains of a 4th century
AD church (said to have been built by Helena, mother of Constantine, the
first Christian emperor), a larger 6th century AD basilica (destroyed by
Persians in 614 AD) and a modest 7th century AD monastery (destroyed in
the 10th century AD) which included a bakery, wine presses, animal pens
and baptismal font.
Beit Sahour ("House of the Night Watch") is a Palestinian town about one
mile east of Bethlehem under the administration of the Palestinian National
Authority. View from the Shepherds' fields.
This area is also believed to be where Ruth gleaned
in the fields behind the harvesters on their way to Bethlehem from Moab
(Ruth 2-4). Ruth married Boaz, and they became parents of Oved, the
father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David, who was born in
Jerusalem. Thus Bethlehem became known as the "City of David" and it was
predicted that the Messiah would be born there (Micah 5:1-5).