Chapel of the Shepherds' Field

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Shepherds' Field Chapel
Sanctuary Gloria in excelsis Deo
Christmas Church (Bethlehem)3.jpg
The chapel in 2010
Shepherds' Field Chapel is located in the West Bank
Shepherds' Field Chapel
Shepherds' Field Chapel
31°42′26.3″N 35°13′48.4″E / 31.707306°N 35.230111°E / 31.707306; 35.230111Coordinates: 31°42′26.3″N 35°13′48.4″E / 31.707306°N 35.230111°E / 31.707306; 35.230111
CountryState of Palestine
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
Architect(s)Antonio Barluzzi
Number of domes1

The Shepherds' Field Chapel (Arabic: كنيسة حقل الرعاة; Hebrew: כנסיית שדה הרועים)[citation needed] or the Sanctuary of the Gloria in excelsis Deo,[1] dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and St. Theresa of Lisieux,[2] is a Roman Catholic religious building in the area of Beit Sahour, southeast of Bethlehem in the West Bank in Palestine.[3][4] The chapel marks the place where, according to Catholic tradition,[dubious ] angels first announced the birth of Christ.

Biblical relevance[edit]

This is one of two locations held to be not only the site of the Annunciation to the shepherds, but also the place mentioned in Ruth 2:2, where Ruth gleaned grain for herself and Naomi.[5]

The site of the Annunciation to the shepherds favoured by tradition is not this, but the Orthodox one, on the other side of the valley (see Beit Sahour article).


Roman period[edit]

In 1951–52, prior to the construction of the present chapel, Franciscan archaeologist Virgilio Canio Corbo excavated the site and found caves with evidence of human habitation during the Herodian and later Roman period, as well as ancient oil presses.[2] Corbo used his findings as arguments in favour of the hypothesis that a small community inhabited the site at the time of Jesus' birth.[2] Murphy-O'Connor concludes that the site was occupied during the first century by nomadic shepherds.[4]

Byzantine period[edit]

Over the Roman-period remnants, a Byzantine monastery was built at the end of the 4th century, which went through a second, rebuilding and expansion phase in the 6th.[4] The monastery was destroyed by the Persians in 614 and was not reoccupied afterwards.[4] The remains were destroyed in the 8th century by Muslims who chiseled off the Christian signs from several stones.[2]

Modern church[edit]

The Shepherds' Field Chapel was built by the Franciscans in 1953.[5] It is not far from the Greek Orthodox Der El Rawat Chapel, commemorating the same event.[6]


The chapel was designed by architect Antonio Barluzzi.[2] Under the chapel is a large cave.[dubious ]

It has five apses that mimic the structure of a nomadic tent in gray. The words of the angel to the shepherds are inscribed gold. An image depicting the birth of Jesus can be seen in the place.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Antonio Barluzzi, el gran arquitecto de la Tierra Santa moderna, "supo traducir en arte los misterios cristianos"" (in Spanish). Fundación Tierra Santa. 17 December 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Shepherds' Field (via "Bethlehem – Basilica of the Nativity")". Jerusalem: Custodia Terrae Sanctae. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Midnight Mass at Bethlehem". Magnificat Media. 2015-12-31. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  4. ^ a b c d Murphy-O'Connor, J. (2008-02-28). The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191647666.
  5. ^ a b Tilbury, Neil (1989-10-01). Israel, a travel survival kit. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9780864420152.
  6. ^ Humphreys, Andrew (1996-01-01). Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 9780864423993.
  7. ^ Jenkins, Ferrell (2013-12-25). "Visiting the shepherd's fields near Bethlehem". Ferrell's Travel Blog. Retrieved 2016-05-09.

External links[edit]