The Gospels tell us that Jesus was born in a cave or stable in Bethlehem “because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2.7) There, our Lord – God made man – was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. What a blessed place!
The Church has always held this place in high esteem, which is why at the beginning of the fourth century a small chapel was built around it so that everyone could visit it.
Unfortunately, this chapel was destroyed in a revolt in the 6th century. Soon after, though, when a period of peace reigned, the Emperor Justinian ordered that the chapel be rebuilt, but now much larger – it would be a basilica! It is precisely this basilica that continues to this day.