Church of St. Catherine Bethlehem


About
The Church of St. Catherine is a Franciscan monastery and a Catholic church that is connected to the Church of the Nativity. It was said to have been built in 310 AD at the place where Christ appeared to Catherine of Alexandria and predicted her martyrdom. St. Catherine hails from Egypt and became a martyr in the 6th century when she was persecuted and beheaded for protesting against the pagan emperor Maxentius. The emperor at the time was worshipping false gods and persecuting Christians.

The Church of St. Catherine was first documented in the 15th century and the structure showed remnants of a 5th century monastery which was associated with St. Jerome. In 1881, funded by the emperor of Austria, the church was renovated to include three aisles leading to other structures. The north and west aisles lead to the Franciscan monastery. The west door is a passage way to the cloister which was restored by Antonio Barluzzi, an Italian Franciscan monk and an architect, who used the columns of the monastery built during the 12th century. 

The cloister features a statue of St. Jerome while the church exterior features an image of St. Catherine. Upon entering the Church of St. Catherine a stairway descends to caves below the Church of the Nativity. Inside the caves are ancient tombs honoring significant persons and sacred traditions. The church also features stained glass windows that portray the Nativity scene.

Facilities
Accessible to handicapped and senior guests
Kids friendly
Free parking
Free entrance

Opening Hours
6:00 AM to 7:00 PM (summer)
5:30 AM to 6:00 PM (winter)