The Passionists - Compassion

Mary in Christian Tradition

Early Palestinian Shrines Honoring Mary


drawings of Church of the Nativity

Drawings of Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem

Early devotion to Mary developed as certain ancient sites in Palestine associated with Jesus and his mother:

  • At Bethlehem, the grotto of Christ's birth was held sacred.
  • At the Mount of Olives outside Jersalem, grottoes recalling his agony in the garden and ascension were frequented by early Jewish Christians. Mary's grave, too, was honored in this area.
  • At Jerusalem, the sites where Jesus died and was buried were remembered.
  • On Mount Sion in Jerusalem, the early church met for worship on the site where the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the disciples at Pentecost.
  • At Nazareth, where the sites of Jesus' early life were remembered.

Jerusalem and much of Palestine were laid waste by Roman armies in 70 A.D. and again after the Jewish revolts of 132-135 A.D. Most of the native population was deported, but a remnant of Palestinian Christians kept alive the memories and traditions of these holy places where Mary was honored along with her son.

The Christian "Holy Land" of the 4th Century