The Star of Bethlehem

The Star marks the spot, by tradition, where Mary gave birth to Jesus. An earlier Star disappeared mysteriously in the 1830's (some there are, who like to say that one of the many reasons which led to the Crimean War were the counter-claims between the Western and Eastern Churches as to which of them "stole" the Star!). The present one was presented by the Ottoman Sultan, in 1852. Round the edge of the Star are the Latin words: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS EST - "Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born". It is said that the word "HIC" marks the precise spot of the delivery. In the apse above is a sadly deteriorated mosaic of the birth and underneath the mosaic only the barely discernable last words of the Latin phrase: GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO, ET IN TERRA PAX HOMINIBUS BONÆ VOLUNTATIS. - "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will". (Luke 2:14).

The Star of Bethlehem

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