On June 18th, 2010, we visited the Church of the Shepherds’ Field near Bethlehem. This is where angels met the shepherds on the night that Christ was born. It is believed that St. Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, built a church over the cave in the 4th century AD. Later, a larger 6th century AD basilica (destroyed by Persians in 614 AD) and a modest 7th century AD monastery (destroyed in the 10th century AD) were built and now a Greek Orthodox church is on site. The relics of the shepherds were taken by Crusaders to Germany but there are still relics of martyred monks that are available for veneration.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace, goodwill toward
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with hast and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2: 8-18)