According to Christian tradition, in addition to the basilica of the Annunciation, the Church of Saint Joseph is also in Nazareth. The sanctuary is called the Church of the Nutrition because Jesus lived and grew up here until he was an adult, learning his father’s trade.
"O Joseph, you just and holy man, interecede for us with the Lord Jesus. You, the Spouse of the Virgin Mary, beg her maternal tenderness for everyone who prays to her, the Mother of our Savior." Saint Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444), Franciscan
From the account of the pilgrim Arculfo (670 BC), we know that at Nazareth "two large churches were built: one in the middle of the city, founded over two arches, the place where the house in which our Savior grew up was built and the other on the site off the house where the angel Gabriel came to Blessed Mary and, finding her alone, spoke to her." In the 17th century, Father Francesco Quaresmi describes a place "that the locals call Joseph’s House and Workshop where, for a time, there was a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Joseph." The apocryphal "Story of Joseph the Carpenter" narrates the death and interment of Jesus’ foster father, describing how Jesus himself helped and comforted him at the moment that he passed out of this life. We also know that some of Jesus’ relatives remained at Nazareth, according to the history of the Judaeo-Christian Hegesippus (II cent. AD), reported in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caeserea: "Of the Lord’s family, there remain the nephews of Judah, the brother according to the flesh, who were denounced as belonging to the lineage of David. It can be supposed that these "relatives of the Lord" played a not inconsiderable part in the conservation of the Christian memory of Nazareth.
The announcement to Joseph
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
The site was acquired by the Franciscans in 1754 and the present church was built over the ruins of the ancient one in 1914 by Brother Wendelin Hinterkeuser. During the work, grottoes, cisterns, parts of primitive habitations and a bath with steps that was probably an ancient ritual bath or baptismal font were discovered.
Guide: Let us pray to the God of the patriarchs and the prophets who fulfilled his ancient promise in the incarnation of his Son born of the action of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary and confided to the tender care of Joseph. All: Hear us, O Lord.
1. For the Church, that by the intercession of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Virgin, adoptive father of the Lord and patron of the universal church, it may sense the presence of the Spirit that precedes it and accompanies it along the route. Let us pray:
2. For the governors of nations, that they may base their civil responsibilities on respect for the family, the basic unit of civil and religious society. Let us pray:
3. For all the workers of the world, that by the example of Jesus the divine worker and by the intercession of St. Joseph, they may discover their vocation in the plan of God and promote the common good. Let us pray:
4. For the family, the domestic church, that it may inspire those near and far to confidence in Providence and promote the gift of life. Let us pray:
Guide: O faithful God who has guided the destiny of the world throughout the generations and in St. Joseph gave the Church a sign of your paternity, watch over us and over all the families of the world so that through the joys and trials of life we always recognize your will and cooperate with the work of redemption. Through Christ Our Lord.
Church of the Nutrition
Terra Santa Convent
Sanctuary Visiting Hours
7.00 - 18.00