Visit St. Joseph’s Church
The major tourist attraction in the Old City of Nazareth in modern-day Israel is the Church of the Annunciation, but remind your tour guide to show you the adjacent Franciscan Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s Church, just north of the Church of the Annunciation. Between the two churches is the large Franciscan Terra Sancta (Holy Land) Convent.
Matthew describes the status of Mary’s husband, Joseph, after the Annunciation.
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
St. Joseph’s Church
St. Joseph’s Church was built in 1914, however it was built over the remains of much older churches from the Byzantine and Crusader periods (Church of the Nutrition or St. Joseph’s House) which were built over a cave, crypt, square basin (early Christian baptistery or Jewish ritual bath), 2m high underground chamber, grain silos and water cisterns, cut into the soft limestone rock. The ruins of the Crusader church were acquired by the Franciscans in 1745.
Notice that it was built in the Romanesque Revival style. The “round-arched style” Romanesque Revival which began in the mid-19th century was inspired by the 11th- and 12th-century Romanesque architecture. This style was also used for synagogues and university campuses.
The Catholic Church of Annunciation is built where according to tradition stood the house of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary, the parents of Jesus. Their home is called the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary.
The St. Joseph church was built, according to early traditions, over the St. Joseph’s carpenter workshop. Later traditions identify this place, like the Church of the Annunciation, as the house of Joseph and the Holy family. Reference to the carpentry workshop comes from Matthew.
55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
St. Joseph’s Song