St. Gabriel Chruch
St. Gabriel Church is suggested by the Greek Orthodox to be the place of Annunciation ("And she took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water..."). In the crypt of the church flows Mary's spring, the source of Mary's well:
St. Gabriel Greek-Orthodox Church is located in the center of the downtown Nazareth, on the main road, near Mary's Well water trough structure. According to the Greek Orthodox tradition, this was the place where Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, was announced by the angel Gabriel that she will have a son of God.
Note that the Catholics have an alternative location of the Annunciation - at the Basilica of Annunciation.
|In the 3rd Century AD a church
was built over the springs, following the tradition that the
spring was the place of the annunciation. It was later destroyed
by the Arab conquest of the 7th C, and rebuilt by the Crusaders
in the 12th C. Then it was destroyed again after their defeat
In 1767 St Gabriel Church was rebuilt on top of the ruins of the Crusader Church. The Crusader's stones around the spring were left intact. The spring is located in the crypt of the church.
A section in the wall painting in St Gabriel Church, with an illustration of the Annunciation
You can drive on the main road of downtown Nazareth and park near Mary's well, then walk around it and up the stairs. ST. Gabriel is a remarkable Church and a highly recommended site.
The following photo shows the the church from the area near Mary's Well. In the foreground, a glass lid covers the pipe that flows the spring's water to Mary's well trough (which is behind this spot).
A view of the entrance to the church is seen below.
The Church in the entrance level is impressive and charming, as can be seen in the following photo.
The "Templon", the decorated covered screen with icons and paintings, separates the hall and the altar behind the center table. Some of the paintings on the screen are seen in the photos below.
Mary and infant Jesus are one of the paintings decorating the wooden screen.
Another icon on the wooden screen is seen below.
A detail of the ceiling with paintings from Jesus life, and the golden chandelier hanging above, are seen in the photo below.
|In the ground level, at the edge of the hallway, there is a gentle flow of water. This spring is believed by the Greek Orthodox to be Mary's Spring, the site of the Annunciation.|
A detail of Mary's spring is seen below. The waters flow outside via pipes to the trough known as Mary's well.
The photo below shows a view from the spring towards the entrance to the church.
In this text is the story of the annunciation:
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her".
This text tells the story of the annunciation - the place where Mary fetched water. The Greek Orthodox accepts this book as a tradition, and therefore built their church near the site of the Well.
"And she took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water. And, behold, a voice saying: Hail, thou who hast received grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women! And she looked round, on the right hand and on the left, to see whence this voice came. And she went away, trembling, to her house, and put down the pitcher; and taking the purple, she sat down on her seat, and drew it out. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her, saying: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all, and thou shalt conceive, according to His word."