Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on digg
Share on reddit

Church of Saint Catherine

Destinations in Bethlehem

The Church of Saint Catherine is a Franciscan Catholic church, located north of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The church is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. Because of the status quo that governs Christian community relations in the Holy Places in the Holy Land since 1852, the Franciscans share only the Nativity Cave in the nearby Nativity Church, so except for special events their worship is held in St. Catherine’s Church. 



The History of the Church of Saint Catherine

So In the 12th century, a Crusader monastery was established where is today the Church of Saint Catherine; and at some point, before the 15th century; a small chapel was built on the site of the monastery’s meeting hall. Then in 1882, the chapel was replaced by the present church, built in the Gothic Revival style. The construction of the Church of Saint Catherine was funded by donations made to it by Franz Josef I; Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Simultaneously with the construction of the church, a pilgrims’ hostel (Casa Nova) was established next to it; which also houses, among other things, the offices of the Latin Quarter in Bethlehem.

Shopping in Bethlehem

The cloister of the ancient monastery was not destroyed, and the entrance to the Church of Saint Catherine is made through it. In 1949 the cloister was renovated by the Italian architect Antonio Berlusconi. Until 1999, the interior of the Church of Saint Catherine was decorated with wheels that symbolized the wheel of refraction on which St. Catherine was tormented. Towards the year 2000 and Pope John Paul II’s visit to Israel; the church was renovated and the wheels were removed. In addition, the structure was extended to the east, beyond the main altar.



The Structure of the Church  

So the entrance to the Church of Saint Catherine is through the cloister on its west side. In the center of the cloister stands a statue of Hieronymus (St.Jerome) standing on a pillar. Above the front door of the church is a Latin inscription saying: “SANCTAE CATHERINAE VIRGINI ET MARTIRI DICATUM” (“Dedicated to the Holy, Virgin and Martyr Catherine”), and above it stands a statue of Mary. The church is rectangular and built in the shape of a basilica, with three naves.

Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour
Jerusalem-and-Bethlehem-Tour-Church-of-the-Holy-Sepluchre
In This Photo: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The Church of Saint Catherine’s ceiling is designed in the shape of a cross vault, and its gilded arches are carried on pillars adorned with Corinthian capitals. In the eastern wall of the church, above the organ, is a large stained glass window, depicting the birth of Christ. A passage used only during special religious events, such as Christmas, connects the church to the Christmas cave, and a staircase leads from the church to the underground burial caves below the compound.



Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on digg
Share on reddit
apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Eshtaol Forest

RELATED POSTS

Dolphin Reef

Have you ever wanted to swim with the dolphins? The Dolphin Reef located in the Gulf of Eilat is a utopian destination for nature lovers!

Atlit Castle

Château Pèlerin (Latin: Castrum Perigrinorum), also known as Atlit Castle, is a Crusader fortress located near Caesarea National Park.

Acre Aqueduct

The Acre aqueduct is a water aqueduct that carried water to the city of Acre. The aqueduct was built by Suleiman Pasha, for more click here!

Church of the Multiplication

The Church of the Loaves and Fish or in short the Church of the Multiplication is located in Ein Sheva (Tabgha), off the shores of ...

Jordan Valley Ultimate Christian Sites

What are the Jordan Valley ultimate Christian sites worth exploring? Well, that's a very good question! Check out this post to know more!

Shechem: The Ultimate Guide

Al-Muqaddasi, an Arab geographer, described Nablus as “Little Damascus,” which refers to the architectural remains in Nablus. Nablus itself was actually modelled on the capital ...

Jaffa Flea Market

Everybody loves a good market, right? Jaffa flea market (Shuk Hapishpishim) is exactly the place to visit then! It's a real unique experience.

Photos In Beit Guvrin National Park

Where can you take the best photos In Beit Guvrin National Park? So Beit Guvrin National Park is a wonderful location for photos.

Hurva Synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue, also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid, is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter in Old Town Jerusalem

Gan Garoo

So Gan Garoo is one of my personal favorites places to go when touring the Jezreel Valley. In fact, this especially true when you’re touring ...