Highlights of Shepherd’s Fields in the Holy Land
This was the place where the bewildered shepherds heard the angels singing “Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to Men of Goodwill”. Many old and new structures are scattered throughout. The field is situated to the east of the village of Beit Sahour.
The area of the Shepherd’s Field is also the area where Ruth gleaned the fields of Boas in the Book of Ruth, according to the tradition. Because of her settling down there the city of Bethlehem also became know as the City of David, due to Ruth being the matriarch of King David. Jesus, was also a descendant of Ruth, despite the Biblical prohibition of Moabites becoming a member of the Jewish people even in the tenth generation, a fact that underlines the Christian message of grace.
One the eve of the birth of Jesus the angels proclaimed the good news to the shepherds outside Bethlehem, in what is today called The Shepherds Field. The event is commemorated by two churches, one Roman Catholic and one Greek Orthodox, in the little village of Beit Sahur two kilometres from Bethlehem. The Greek Orthodox church is the oldest one based on a church dating back to the 4th Century, and has the oldest tradition for being the spot where the shepherds heard the angel. The architecture of the Franciscan Catholic church is meant to resemble a Bedouin tent, according to the traditional and ancient way of living in the area.
Both churches are open seven days a week, free of charge.