After E. T. Richmond

Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem

A remodeling in the time of Justinian, perhaps following the destruction caused by the Samaritan revolt of 529, replaced the octagonal building and ambulatorium with three apses in a cloverleaf design. Pilgrims could still visit the Cave of the Nativity, now beneath the chancel, via a stairway on each side of the chancel (as before, one stairway probably served as entrance and the other as exit). A narthex, at the end of the nave, was also added at this time, while the atrium was repositioned a little farther to the west.