Zev Radovan

The modern basilica is built above Crusader, Byzantine and early Christian remains—including a small cave (shown here, compare with image of the Church of the Annunciation) dedicated, according to local legend, to a gardener named Conon, who was martyred in Asia Minor in the mid-third century C.E. Brought before court authorities, Conon declared: “I am of the city of Nazareth in Galilee, I am of the family of Christ, whose worship I have inherited from my ancestors.” Later, a leader of the Jerusalem Church who shared Conon’s name commissioned the cave chapel to honor this distant relative of Jesus.