The winners for this survey were the city of Jerusalem (7 different churches proposed), with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher receiving the most individual votes. Bethlehem has two favorite churches, and Galilee two others. Only two churches were selected outside of the land of Israel. Here is a brief review of a few of the favorites and some reasons they were chosen.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem

“Each time, I always find something new and interesting to learn about the history of this church.
And it seems likely that some of history’s most significant events happened within its walls.”

“There is just something about this place for me. To think it may have been the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection for one gives me goose bumps. Then there is the building’s long history and its levels and twists and turns. It’s also interesting to watch the people.”

Holy Sepulcher, Stone of Unction, March 30, 1839, drra3g03440
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Lithograph by David Roberts

The Church of All Nations (Gethsemane)

“Wonderful mosaic of Jesus, the natural light inside, the location, the symbolism of the name.”

Christ Church (Jerusalem)

“Ministry to Jews – no statues – clean architecture.”

Church of St. Anne (Jerusalem)

“The beautiful acoustical sound as songs of worship are sung by peoples of all languages – creating
for me an atmosphere of praise to the Lord!”

St Anne's Church interior, tb102903601
Interior of the Church of St. Anne

Dominus Flevit (Jerusalem)

“The location and view from the church toward the Old City, emphasizing Temple grounds and beyond the Holy Sepulchre.”

Church of the Nativity (Bethlehem)

“Stubbornly commemorates the birthplace of Messiah in the city of the birthplace of David.”

Church of the Shepherds’ Field (Bethlehem)

“Singing Christmas carols (I sang O Holy Night here) with the beautiful acoustical sound
reverberating throughout reminding us of Christ’s birth somewhere near here.”


“Beautiful and full of peace.”

Church of the Primacy (Tabgha)

“It is small and intimate…but mostly for the setting right along the Sea of Galilee.”

Duc In Altum (Magdala)

“Because it is beautiful, particularly the mural depicting the woman with the discharge of blood.”

Magdala chapel, Duc In Altum, Encounter chapel, woman touching Jesus's garment, tb053116468
Encounter Chapel in Duc In Altum

Sardis (Turkey)

“On the southeast corner of the magnificent ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Sardis is a small brick church built around the 4th century CE after the Temple had fallen into disuse. It’s one of the earliest church structures in existence. I like it because, although it pales in compares to the Temple of Artemis, it is a testimony to the power of God in the presence of things the world considers to be of no consequence. I appreciate being able to reflect in a relatively quiet spot where Christians gathered 1400 years or so ago.”

Titus Church (Crete)

“Went to church there one Sunday morning while my wife went to Knossos. Really good experience.”

Thanks to all who participated. August is over, but we’ve enjoyed this enough to continue it in the coming months, though probably less frequently than once a week.


Philippe Bohstrom reports in Haaretz on the discovery of a large royal structure immediately adjacent to the Solomonic city gate.

A palatial building dating to the era of King Solomon 3000 years ago has been discovered in the royal city of Gezer, though there is no evidence which of the Israelite kings lived there, if any.
The monumental building dates to the 10th century BCE, the era associated with King Solomon, who is famed for bringing wealth and stability to the newly-united kingdom of Israel and Judah. The American archaeological team also found a layer featuring Philistine pottery, lending credence to the biblical account of them living in the city until being vanquished by King David.
The complex features a large central courtyard, like contemporary palace-like buildings found throughout the southern Levant, including at Hatzor and Megiddo. Though there’s no telling who ruled from there, if anybody did, the edifice is significantly larger than the size of ordinary houses of the time, excavation co-director Prof. Steve Ortiz, representing the Tandy Museum of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary of Fort Worth, Texas, told Haaretz. Among the features not found in usual domestic structures is ashlar masonry – large rectangular-shaped monolithic hewn stones – in the corners of rooms, Ortiz said.
The main feature is two parallel long rooms, or courtyards, surrounded on all sides by various rooms, numbering at least 15. The palace has two entrances from the east and west. The entrance from the west also connects this building to the monumental six-chambered gate associated by most scholars with Solomon. This entrance is more robustly built than the rest of the building: The walls are constructed with two to three rows of stones wide, built of roughly dressed field stones somewhat smaller in size than those used in the rest of the building.

The article contains photos and more background about the historical importance of Gezer along with a little bit of the reasoning for dating this stratum to the 10th, and not 9th, century.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Gezer aerial from west, ws073114058b
Gezer from the west, showing area of palace excavations
Photo by Bill Schlegel