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Church of the Annunciation
Nazaret Verkuendigungsbasilika BW 16.JPG
Front of the church
Basic information
Location 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[citation needed], 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, Zahir al-Umar 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.

In this Basilica is a gallery with mosaics representing some of the most important Marian devotions in different countries. Among the Marian devotions in Spain include: The Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the Canary Islands,[4] the Virgin of Montserrat, patroness of Catalonia, the Virgin of the Forsaken, patroness of Valencia and the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of Extremadura.[5]




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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179 news items

Catholic Courier
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:30:00 -0700

Seminarian Tony Amato stands outside of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth during his recent visit to the Holy Land. GREECE -- Thanks to the trip of a lifetime, Tony Amato will no longer lean on his imagination nearly so often when reflecting ...

Daily Caller

Daily Caller
Fri, 11 Sep 2015 08:45:00 -0700

It also includes the Basilica of the Annunciation, a church in Nazareth marking the spot where Christians believe Gabriel told the Virgin Mary she would give birth to the Savior. Israel's Christian schools instruct some 33,000 students — and not just ...

Conde Nast Traveller India

Conde Nast Traveller India
Mon, 28 Sep 2015 10:17:57 -0700

From there on to Nazareth, which brought us to the Basilica of the Annunciation. It was here that Gabriel told Virgin Mary of her conceiving baby Jesus. Today, a narrow street leading to the basilica has an unfinished mosque, whose construction was ...

The National

The National
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 06:41:15 -0700

Pope Francis has raised the school funding matter with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, and Christian leaders are flirting with the idea of temporarily closing holy sites such as the Basilica of the Annunciation Church in Nazareth in retaliation for ...


Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:06:41 -0700

A team of American and Israeli archaeologists uncovered what they believe to be a 1,700-year-old mosaic 6 feet under the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the site where some Christians believe that the upcoming birth of Jesus was announced to ...


Wed, 16 Sep 2015 02:11:15 -0700

The European bishops, when they arrived in Nazareth, discovered a spontaneous sit-in at the Basilica of the Annunciation courtyard on the issue of Christian schools, which became a main topic of discussion. In Mil'ya, bishops took part in the annual ...

Patheos (blog)

Patheos (blog)
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 05:22:30 -0700

The European bishops when they arrived in Nazareth discovered a spontaneous sit-in at the Basilica of the Annunciation courtyard on the issue of Christian schools, which became a main topic of discussion. In Mil'ya, bishops took part in the annual ...

Patheos (blog)

Patheos (blog)
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:26:41 -0700

I figured that I should share some of the photographs of the grotto, and cave-like home, of the Theotokos on this day on which we celebrate this Solemnity. Over this site is built the Basilica of the Annunciation in the pretty crowded (these days) town ...

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