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Bethlehem: Church of St. Catherine and the Cave of St. Jerome


In Bethlehem, as you pass through the north door of the Church of the Holy Nativity you step right in to the Church of Saint Catherine. This is a Roman Catholic church and is the official parish church for Catholics in Bethlehem.

It is from here that midnight Mass is held on Christmas Eve that is broadcast around the world.

The Cave of Saint Jerome in BethlehemThe steps in the church lead down to a series of caves over which the Church has been built, the most famous being the Cave of Saint Jerome.


About Saint Jerome:

Jerome (345-420 AD) was not what many people would call a saintly man:  he struggled with sexual desires and was also known for his bad temper! He removed himself to Jerusalem and put his mind to learning Hebrew, and then translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Latin, which became known as the “Vulgate”  Bible.  The term “vulgate” refers to the common language used at that time, which was Latin.  This is what he is best remembered for, since the Bible could now be read by many whose primary language was Latin.

Saint Jerome died in 420 AD at the age of 73 and his body was later transferred to Constantinople and then finally to Rome, where his relics are today in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

He is one of the original Doctors of the Church.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Jerome on September 30.

In addition to the cave of Saint Jerome, there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph and also the chapel of the Holy Innocents.

This is a really awesome experience to be here and not always included in Holy Land pilgrimages. So try to visit if you can.

⇐ Back to Catholic shrines & places of interest in Bethlehem

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