Chapel Of The Angels Near Bethlehem
The Chapel of the Angels is connected to the remains of a small ancient 4th century chapel. This quaint stone chapel was built in the shape of a tent. It is also the location of a small agricultural monastery. In the interior of the chapel are paintings which depict the announcement from the angel to the shepherds, that Jesus had been born. There is also a painting of the shepherds bowing before baby Jesus, as they had come to celebrate the birth of the Messiah.
The traditional place of the angel’s announcement is in the small village of Beit Sahur. In times of old it was known as the Village of the Shepherds. This small village is now part of the eastern suburbs of Bethlehem.
Caves where shepherds “kept watch over their flock” are still plentiful in the area east of the village of Bethlehem. One such cave is attached to the Chapel of the Angels. It was in one of these caves that the angel announced the birth of Jesus. He did not go to the rich and wealthy or the well-known and famous, but to poor shepherds who were keeping watch over their sheep. Shepherds were workers of low reputation. It was a despised vocation. But it was to these humble keepers of the sheep, that the angel announced the birth of Jesus.
The words of the Gospel of Luke do not specify the exact place where the Angels appeared. For this we look to ancient tradition which says that it is at Siyar el-Ghanam. Siyar el-Ghanam is the field of the shepherds where they kept watch over their flocks of sheep. The field of the shepherds is not far from Beit Sahour. It is here that this small stone tent of a chapel marks the cave where the angel made this announcement.
The Chapel of the Angels is an amazing chapel and a must visit to all who come on a pilgrimage to Israel and to all those who embark on a Middle East adventure. If you have never been to the Holy Land, why not make this the year that you choose to explore a part of the world where history abounds. Make this the year that you walk where Jesus, Abraham, and so many others walked. Explore the fields where the shepherds kept their sheep, and the Chapel of the Angels that is dedicated in the honor of the Angels who proclaimed the birth of Jesus.