Church of St. Joseph

Church of St. Joseph

Sometimes known as the Church of the Nutrition, or the Church of Joseph’s Workshop, the Church of St. Joseph is a Franciscan Roman Catholic church located in the Old City of Nazareth. Tours to the Holy Land include a stop at the Church of St. Joseph because it gives pilgrims a means to connect to the ancient, tiny village that was the Nazareth of Jesus’ childhood.

The church’s name comes from a tradition that the site was the home of Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary. The structure that contemporary pilgrims visit was built in 1914 atop ruins of older churches from the Byzantine (5th and 6th centuries) and Crusader (12th century) periods.

Tours of the Church of St. Joseph will traverse the building's three long hallways and stairs leading to the lower floor. In the lower level of the church, you'll see mosaics, caves and barns that date from early Nazareth of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. One of the caves in the lower level of the church might have functioned as Joseph’s carpentry workshop. Another opinion is that the caves were used to store grain, wine and oil.

Don’t miss the ancient water pit, also on the lower level, with its seven mosaic-covered steps, which might have functioned as a ritual bath for worshippers. Others believe that the pit is actually an ancient baptism pool.

Standing at the site, one can’t help but notice that the Church of St. Joseph, a simple, unadorned structure, is overshadowed by the more imposing and decorated Church of the Annunciation directly to its south.

Visitors are especially urged to dress modestly and speak softly here.

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