Our Lady of the Fright

Our Lady of the Fright

All that remains of Our Lady of the Fright are the ruins of a Franciscan chapel, built in 1882 on the grounds of an earlier Crusader monastery. The chapel, also known as Mary’s Fear and Notre Dame de l’Effroi, is so-called because it was built on the site near Mount Precipice where Mary, the mother of Jesus, was standing and quaking in fear. Mary trembled as her son was chased to the edge of Mount Precipice by an angry mob, intent on pushing him off the cliff, as described in the Book of Luke.

These ruins sit on a barren hill nearly 400 yards north of Mount Precipice. Access to the site is not a simple matter for tourists to navigate unless they are part of a group guided by an expert who knows the site well. At the bottom of the hill near an old quarry is a path that’s quite steep. The intrepid pilgrim will be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the valley below, as well as of the ruins themselves. The city of Nazareth has built a new shopping center to the north and east of the chapel and that does make access to the site easier. However, this is not an official entrance to Our Lady of the Fright.

Holy Land tour participants will note that the remaining structure is quite modest. There is a small, square arched area that is open on all four sides and a slightly larger interior section that remains mostly intact. In the area surrounding the church, visitors can find evidence of ancient winepresses and cisterns.

When standing and facing Our Lady of the Fright from the east, look toward the Old City of Nazareth, where a church stands at the birthplace of the disciple James.

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