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Church of the Annunciation
Nazaret Verkuendigungsbasilika BW 16.JPG
Front of the church
Basic information
Location Israel Nazareth, Israel
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Year consecrated 1969
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor Basilica
Architectural description
Completed 1969
Dome height (outer) 55 Meters
This article refers to the basilica in Nazareth. For information on the church associated with the Blagoveschenskaya Tower in Russia, see Kremlin towers or Cathedral of the Annunciation.

The Church of the Annunciation (Hebrew: כנסיית הבשורה‎, Arabic: كنيسة البشارة‎, Greek: Εκκλησία του Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου, Ekklisía tou Evangelismoú tis Theotókou), sometimes also referred to as the Basilica of the Annunciation is a church in Nazareth, in northern Israel.


The church was established at the site where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place. Greek Orthodox tradition holds that this event occurred while Mary was drawing water from a local spring in Nazareth, and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation was erected at that alternate site.

The current church is a two-story building constructed in 1969 over the site of an earlier Byzantine-era and then Crusader-era church. Inside, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary. Under Roman Catholic canon law, the church enjoys the status of a minor basilica.[1] A historically significant site, considered sacred within some circles of Christianity, particularly Catholicism, the basilica attracts many Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Christian visitors every year.

The first shrine was probably built sometime in the middle of the 4th century, comprising an altar in the cave in which Mary had lived. A larger structure was commissioned by Emperor Constantine I, who had directed his mother, Saint Helena, to found churches commemorating important events in Jesus Christ's life. The Church of the Annunciation was founded around the same time as the Church of the Nativity (the birthplace) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb). Some version of it was known to have still been in existence around 570 AD, but it was destroyed in the 7th century after the Muslim conquest of Palestine.[citation needed]

The second church was built over the ruins of the Byzantine era church during the Crusades, following the conquest of Nazareth by Tancred in 1102.[2] The Crusader era church was never fully completed. Five Romanesque capitals carved by artists from northern France, and discovered during excavations in 1909, had not yet been installed in 1187 when news of Saladin's victory in the Battle of Hittin reached the city.[2] Saladin granted permission to Franciscan priests to remain in Nazareth to oversee services at the church.[2]

The Church of the Annunciation, interior (about 1925)

In 1260, Baybars and his Mamluk army destroyed the church during their attack on Nazareth.[2] A small number of Franciscans managed to stay in Nazareth until the fall of Acre in 1291. In the three centuries that followed, the Franciscans were in and out of Nazareth, depending on the local political situation, which was constantly in flux. Franciscan accounts of this period document their expulsion in 1363, their return in 1468 and a massacre of some of their members in 1542. Local Christian families with Franciscan support helped take care of the church as well during this period.[3]

Emir Fakr ad-Din granted the Franciscans permission to return in 1620, at which time they constructed a small structure to enclose the holy grotto that is venerated as the house of Mary.[3] In 1730, Dhaher al-Omar permitted construction of a new church, which became a central gathering place for Nazareth Latin community. The church was enlarged in 1877, and then completely demolished in 1954 to allow for the construction of a new basilica, which was completed in 1969.[3] The new basilica was designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Muzio, and built by the Israeli building firm Solel Boneh during the years 1960-69. Used by the Latin parish, it remains under the control of the Franciscans. It is the largest Christian sanctuary in the Middle East, and was dedicated in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.



  1. ^ http://www.adoremus.org/DomusEcclesiae.html
  2. ^ a b c d Emmett, 1995, p. 100.
  3. ^ a b c Emmett, 1995, p. 101.


Other reading[edit]

Coordinates: 32°42′08″N 35°17′52″E / 32.70222°N 35.29778°E / 32.70222; 35.29778

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_the_Annunciation — Please support Wikipedia.
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15 news items

Canada Free Press
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 08:45:00 -0700

The Greek Orthodox patriarchate in Israel banned Father Naddaf from entering Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation, and has repeatedly threatened to dismiss him from his post in Yafia, because of his public statements against the treatment of ...
Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:18:45 -0700

Image: Nazareth, Israel's Arab Capital: Facts About Muslim, Christian City In this January 2002 file photo, Palestinian youths stand in front of the site where a controversial mosque was under construction, in front of Nazareth's Basilica of the ...
Catholic Diocese of Salina
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:52:30 -0700

The resulting Basilica of the Annunciation is actually the largest Church in the Middle East! In 1951 the noted architect Giovanni Muzio presented his plans for the church, which incorporated the venerable Grotto of the Annunciation, as well as much of ...

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:11:15 -0700

In Galilee they celebrated Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes and at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, noted that their interreligious prayers with Muslims, Christians and Jews highlighted the fact ...
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:20:43 -0700

The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Middle East. The first church was built on the site in 427 AD during the Byzantine times. It was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and the remains ...
Hays Daily News
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:41:15 -0700

16 -- Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and prayer for peace in Ramallah. * Sept. 17 -- Mass at the Church of the Visitation in Jerusalem and prayer for peace and victims of the Holocaust near Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. * Sept. 18 ...
Catholic Diocese of Salina
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:01:40 -0700

16, Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and prayer for peace in Ramallah. • Sept. 17, Mass at the Church of the Visitation in Jerusalem and prayer for peace and victims of the Holocaust near Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. • Sept. 18, Mass at ...
Current in Zionsville
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:11:15 -0700

After touring the Hagia Sophia, many visitors assume they have seen the best Byzantine art in Istanbul. They have not. What may be the most impressive collection of medieval mosaics and frescoes in the world is displayed in the “Chora Church” in ...

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