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Ein Karem: the birthplace of St. John the Baptist


"There are two churches of St John the Baptist in the town. Best-known is the Catholic Church of the Nativity of St John, identifiable by its tall tower topped by a round spire. It is also called “St John in the mountains”, a reference to the “hill country” of the Scripture.

"The church combines remnants of many periods. An early church on this site was used by Muslim villagers for their livestock before the Franciscans recovered it in the 17th century. The Franciscans built the present church with the help of the Spanish monarchy. The high altar is dedicated to St John. To the right is Elizabeth’s altar. To the left are steps leading down to a natural grotto — identified as John’s birthplace and believed to be part of his parents’ home.

"A chapel beneath the porch contains two tombs. An inscription in a mosaic panel reads, in Greek, “Hail martyrs of God”. Whom it refers to is unknown.

"The other church, built in 1894, is Eastern Orthodox."

Quote from this link.

Approaching the Church of Saint John the Baptist






The main altar of the church