Fire in Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem

… a few hours after Pope Francis returned to Rome. : A fire broke out in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity on Tuesday, just hours after Pope Francis wrapped up a three-day Middle East pilgrimage during which he visited the shrine. Bethlehem’s governor, Abdel-Fatah Hamayel, said it was a small fire caused by an oil…

Bethlehem’s Church Of The Nativity Renovation Underway

Jesus’ birthplace site gets urgent attention: As visitors descend upon Bethlehem this holiday season, they will notice a different look for the Church of the Nativity. Wrapped in scaffolding, the basilica located at the traditional site of Jesus’ birth is undergoing a much-needed facelift after 600 years. Experts say that water is leaking from the…

A Bit More on the Bethlehem Bulla

[Background here.] From Joseph I. Lauer via e-mail: 1. Yesterday, Zachi Dvira (Zweig) forwarded some information about the bulla and the work of the Temple Mount Sifting Project members. Zachi and Dr. Gabriel Barkay (the “Gaby” below) direct the Project. Zachi wrote: “This bulla was found a few months ago at the sifting site by…

Ancient Bethlehem Seal Unearthed in Jerusalem

AP is reporting: Jerusalem — Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription “Bethlehem,” the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday, in what experts believe to be the oldest artifact with the name of Jesus’ traditional birthplace. The tiny clay seal’s existence and age provide vivid evidence that Bethlehem was not just the name…