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The Church Of The Nativity

Built by the Emperor Constantine in 326 AD over the cave where Jesus was born, the Church of the Nativity is claimed to be the oldest church in the world. St. Jerome wrote the Latin Bible from here soon after. It has not changed in its essentials since the Emperor Justinian rebuilt it after it was destroyed during the Samaritan revolt in 529 AD. The Persians, who destroyed countless churches when they overran Palestine in 614, spared the Church, seeing their kinsmen in the painting of the Magi. At the Arab Conquest, Omar bin Khattab, confirmed the right of Christians to continue praying there, and gave Muslims the right to pray there as well, as individuals. With the arrival of the Crusaders in 1099-1187, a cloister and a monastery were built on the north side of the Church, which became the center for the coronation of the Crusader kings of Jerusalem. Damaged during an earthquake in 1834, the Church underwent repairs in 1842. The ancient mosaic floor was brought to light in 1933, when the dangerous conditions of the Church caused the British administrator to have a structural survey made. In the course of time the complex of the Nativity was expanded by the addition of several chapels and monasteries belonging to the different Christian churches. The Church of the Nativity is managed by the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian churches. The Church of the Nativity today encompasses the Grotto of the Nativity, and adjacent grottoes, the Greek Orthodox Convent; the Armenian Monastery, St. Jerome’s Cloister and St. Catherine Church