Saint Joseph

Around one hundred metres north east of the Basilica of the Annunciation, past the gardens, stands St. Joseph's Church, known also as the Church of the Nutrition. The first pilgrims speak only of two churches in Nazareth, that of the Annunciation and that of Saint Gabriel, at the Fountain of the Virgin. In just 670, the pilgrim Arculfus saw a building called Church of the Nutrition and built "on two arches in the place where once there was the home where our Lord and Saviour was fed".

In 1620, Father Francesco Quaresmi, spoke of the church that he believed to be the “workshop home” of Saint Joseph. It seems that Quaresmi misinterpreted the name used by the Arabs for this place: not workshop but caravanserai (dukan). Quaresmi saw a “rustic home”, that only passed into Franciscan hands in 1754. The house was built within the walls of a crusade church, and then became a small chapel, restored in 1858. The guardian father of Nazareth, Angelo da Mirandola, bought the building for 30 piasters; to mark the purchase, a mass was celebrated in the house the next day.

The remaining surrounding land came into Franciscan hands in 1890 and Father Viaud was thus able to draw the first complete layout of the remains of the crusade church. In 1892, before reconstruction of the church was started, the archaeological digs were begun.

The new church was completed in 1914. The interior is entirely in Romanesque-Crusade style, and re-uses the same medieval foundations. The floor of the central nave is intentionally raised, to create the space for the crypt, conserving the underground grottos and mosaic tiled bath.