Chapel of the Milk Grotto

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Chapel of the Milk Grotto
Latin: Crypta lactea
Arabic: مغارةآلسثئ
A Churches in Bethlehem3.jpg
Chapel of the Milk Grotto
Location Bethlehem
Country  Palestinian territories
Denomination Catholic Church
Completed 1872
Province Custody of the Holy Land
Priest in charge Order of the Friars Minor

The Chapel of the Milk Grotto (Latin: Crypta lactea, Arabic: مغارةآلسثئ‎) also called Milk Grotto or Grotto of Our Lady, is a Catholic chapel in Bethlehem in the West Bank of the Palestinian Territories, erected in 1872.[1][2][3][4] Since ancient times, the place has been a center of Christian pilgrimage, maintained since its last erection together with its Marian shrine and monastery by the Custody of the Holy Land of the Order of the Friars Minor of the Catholic Church in Palestine. The Status Quo, a 250-year old understanding between religious communities, applies to the site.[5][6]


The current Catholic chapel was built in 1872 on the site of a former Byzantine church from around the 5th century, of which only part of the mosaic floor remains.


Christian tradition says is the place where the Holy Family found refuge during the "slaughter of the innocents", before they could flee to Egypt. The name is derived from the story that a "drop of milk" of the Virgin Mary fell on the floor of the cave and changed its colour to white.[7] The space, which contains three different caves, is visited by some pilgrims in hope of healing infertile couples.[8]

See also


  1. ^ «La Gruta de la Leche en Belén» (Spanish)
  2. ^ Kohn, Michael (2007-01-01). Israel & the Palestinian Territories. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781864502770. 
  3. ^ Kirk, Martha Ann (2004-01-01). Women of Bible Lands: A Pilgrimage to Compassion and Wisdom. Liturgical Press. ISBN 9780814651568. 
  4. ^ Korb, Scott (2010-03-18). Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine. Penguin. ISBN 9781101186015. 
  5. ^ UN Conciliation Commission (1949). United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine Working Paper on the Holy Places. 
  6. ^ Cust, L. G. A. (1929). The Status Quo in the Holy Places. H.M.S.O. for the High Commissioner of the Government of Palestine. 
  7. ^ Planet, Lonely; Ham, Anthony; Barbarani, Sofia; Lee, Jessica; Maxwell, Virginia; Robinson, Daniel; Sattin, Anthony; Symington, Andy; Walker, Jenny (2015-08-01). Lonely Planet Middle East. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781743609637. 
  8. ^
Internal View

Coordinates: 31°42′12″N 35°12′34″E / 31.7034°N 35.2095°E / 31.7034; 35.2095

External links

  • Betlehem municipality website
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