Francesco Quaresmi

Elucidatio Terrae Sanctae (Elucidation of the Holy Land) (1634-1639)

Once the Sanctuary was obtained from the emir Fakhr ad-Din, Father Jacques de Vendôme was commissioned by Custos Obicini to best adapt the poor buildings in Nazareth. The works made for the new chapel started in 1632.
Franciscan friar Francesco Quaresmi, who worked extensively on the Holy Places, stayed several months in Nazareth in 1626, before the new church was built. He was interested in the various traditions and the Crusader ruins that could still be seen. His description has added value since it comes from an educated and diligent observer.

« This church was almost completely destroyed, except for the north wall, to which was attached the bishop’s palace, now restored and inhabited by St. Francis’ friars. After removing much soil by way of cleaning the holy place, a floor made with square marble slabs was found, with bases and foundations of columns similar to the two of which we spoke earlier. These and the surviving wall were judged as evidence that this was the church. Its length ran from west to east, and had two sets of columns. The sacred cave and the chapel of the Annunciation were to the left of the entrance to the church, that is, the northern nave, which one accessed by means of six steps. Some dwellings now partially restored were attached to this side, so that from this northerly side one may descend from the house by means of a recently built staircase. (The church) was very long and had a bell tower on the west side, something of which can still be seen. Everything else has been demolished and consumed, however the ruins and foundations that still remain make us certain that magnificent buildings once stood here. »


« We find the place called St. Joseph’s home and workshop by the ancient dwellers and up until today called “ducan” and in corrupted form “chania” in Arabic, meaning “workshop” in Latin. It is a rustic house like the others, where once a beautiful church dedicated to St. Joseph was built, larger than the smaller one and smaller than the greater Annunciation one, about 120 feet in length and 50 in width. On top and to the east there were three well-built chapels as evinced by the ruins. »

F. Quaresmio, Historica theologica et moralis Terrae Sanctae elucidatio (Historical, theological and moral elucidation of the Holy Land), II, Antwerpen, 1639; Elucidatio Terrae Sanctae (Elucidation of the Holy Land), edited by S. De Sandoli, Jerusalem, 1989