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The Shepherds’ Field - YMCA

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Exploring the Shepherds' Cave

Location - Beit Sahour

Map Coordinates - 31.703783, 35.237106

Merged Gospels story - 10


Just east of the two Shepherds’ Field shrines that are under the custody of both the Greek Orthodox and the Franciscans is a third site that is under the control of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), a protestant group in Beth Sahour. This site is unique in that it is one of the few protestant shrines in the Holy Land.


Since 1878 the YMCA has labored in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem to work for holy and loving peace among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as well as between international political and ethnic powers seeking to control the land.


The Cave.

The shepherds receiving the annunciation from the angels.

The YMCA site does not have a church, chapel or museum – just a simple lectern at the mouth of a cave that was refurbished in around 2012.

Nonetheless, this is the largest cave of any Shepherds’ Field shrine, and it has two entrances. There is little doubt that ancient shepherds sought nightly refuge in this cave.


The site also boasts of having the most pristine surroundings. Since the area is mostly undeveloped, one can visually experience the sense of what early nomadic shepherds experienced in their daily task of watching over their sheep.

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