Milk Grotto Church – Bethlehem

We left the Christmas celebration to see the rest of Bethlehem. We stopped by the Milk Grotto Church, which was only a few minutes east of Manger Square. The Milk Grotto Church is traditionally where the Holy Family fled and hid during Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents. Legend says that while Mary was nursing Christ, a drop of milk fell and turned the entire area white. In line with this, the church was made of soft white rock and built over the strangely shaped grotto (2). Christians and Muslims believe that the white stones enhance fertility and many mix it with water or keep a bit under their mattress.

The Milk Grotto Church was, like the Basilica of Nativity, very humbly constructed. Bethlehem in general is a poor city, but it really struck me at the churches, where the contrast between the architecture of the Western cathedrals is stark. But at the same time this is a breath of fresh air because it shows that when the high steeples and golden thrones are all stripped down the fundamental message is the same.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on December 28, 2010.

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