The members of our church are descendants of Syriac Catholics who were forced to flee during the genocide of 1915 that devastated the Armenian community and other Christians. Thousands of Syriac-speaking Christians escaped, forming diaspora communities in Aleppo and Beirut, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. By the 1920s in Bethlehem, after praying together in the caves beneath the Church of the Nativity, it was clear that all of these people needed their own place to pray. And so they built a church, with its pale Bethlehem stone and Arabic inscription in calligraphy over the entrance. The Syrian Orthodox Christians, who had escaped a genocide with them, worshipped ten minutes away in their own church, near the steps of the fruit and vegetable market.

A church that prays in the language of Jesus, scattered by war, lives on in many new places.