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City of Christian Love

The History and Importance of Nazareth

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Raouf Abujaber

City of Christian Love provides a detailed history of Nazareth from the dawn of the Christian Era until today with special focus on the religious communities found in this sacred city, including both the periods of tension and the periods of profound interreligious partnership and solidarity.

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Chapter Seven: The Fall of Nazareth: Its Fall and the Disappearance of Its Records, A.D. 1948–2000

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Chapter Seven

The Fall of Nazareth

Its Fall and the Disappearance of Its Records, A.D. 1948–2000

Nazareth has been, since the prevalence of Christianity in the fourth century, a Christian city. It had a community of Jews at that time which continued until the start of the seventh century, when Heraclius was in Jerusalem after the Persian campaign and his victory. Unhappily,

The Christians demanded vengeance on the Jews, but Heraclius refused until the monks took the sin of his broken oath to the Jews upon themselves as a fast of atonement. Heraclius then expelled any remaining Jews; many were massacred; he later ordered the forcible conversion of all Jews.1

In 1924, Rev. Asa’d Mansour confirmed that Nazareth’s population was composed of Christians and Muslims, as Jews did not dare live in it.2 They only ventured to do so after 1948 when Nazareth was occupied and a Jewish settlement, known as “Nazareth Illit” was built on the heights around the town. He further confirmed that the census carried out by the occupying British Forces in 1922 revealed that there were in it 9,510 souls, all Christians and Muslims, without any Jews.

The Muslim population had then the White Mosque and three religious shrines. One of these shrines was Maqam Shihab Eddine (named after a nephew of Saladin who was killed at the Battle of Hattin). ← 73 | 74 → This shrine was, as mentioned earlier,...

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