Salesian Church: And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
Please dress modestly and remember to be quiet.
The Salesian Church sits way up on the highest hill in the west of Nazareth on the Nabi Si’an Ridge. It is the largest of all the Nazareth churches and is easily seen from afar. Size not withstanding this monument dedicated to the adolescent Jesus Christ is exquisitely beautiful. Though it is fairly modern, built in 1923, the architecture harkens back to an earlier French period, using a church in France to base the structure on. There are wide columns adorning the yard.
An impressive statue of Jesus Christ in his youth is high atop this impressive, giant among churches. The wide open expanse of the columned yard, great acoustics and intricate designs using lights give this church a sense of majesty and make the Salesian Church a popular gathering place for religious concerts and festivals. Above the altar hangs a picture of Jesus Christ as a young man walking through the hills of Nazareth. This beautiful piece of sacred artwork adds to this site’s overall appeal to Christian’s devotion and faith.
Near the end of the 1800s, Salesian priests began watching after many orphans in Nazareth. They depended on French benefactors and the French Embassy in Turkey to provide temporary edifices for them to stay in. In 1902, a huge orphanage was built on the Nabi Sa’in hill. Three years later, a rich French benefactor from Versailles, named Caron, donated a large sum of money to build the Salesian Church next to the orphanage.
Caron was not the only devout Catholic who desired to donate to this worthy cause. Visitors to the Salesian Church will also note the names of Louis Foache, the commander of the French Army, and his wife Charlotte Di Schibbi engraved in the memorial area. Charlotte Di Schibbi, then a widow, desired to donate in her late husband’s honor, commemorate his name within the church and to be buried next to him in the courtyard.
Salesian Church History
Lucia Gauthier, a French architect designed this building which stands out among the Nazareth churches. The vitrage, an intricate curtain of lights and translucent material, is in the colors of the French flag (blue, white and red). This pays homage to the architect’s country of origin.
The orphanage is still being used today. It no longer houses orphans, but the building next to the Salesian Church is now a vocational school. The vocational school is named after Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesian order. In addition to both of these buildings built for the adolescent Jesus Christ, there now stands a convent for the Salesian sisters on the premises.