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In 1750, the Orthodox community built the present church on the south side of the chapel with the spring. The upper church has a fine wooden iconostasis, with delicate carvings and painted icons.
From the north aisle of the 18th-century church, seven steps descend to the lower chapel of the spring.
The book itself is the largest wisdom book from antiquity to have survived.
Sirach is accepted as part of the Christian biblical canons by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and most of Oriental Orthodox.
The multiplicity of manuscript fragments uncovered in the Cairo Genizah evidence its authoritative status among Egyptian Jewry until the Middle Ages.
Because it was excluded from the Jewish canon, Sirach was excised from the Protestant canon following the Reformation.
The question of which apothegms actually originated with Sirach is open to debate, although scholars tend to regard him as a compiler or anthologist.
Here a narrow single aisle, sometimes crowded with pilgrims, is roofed by a barrel vault and lined with blind arcades decorated with colored marble and glazed ceramic from c.1750.
At the north end of the chapel, Mary's Spring runs beneath an altar and can be peered down into.
There are claims that it is cited in the Epistle of James, and also the non-canonical Didache (iv. Others have suggested that Ben Sira's self-identification as the author precluded it from attaining canonical status, which was reserved for works that were attributed (or could be attributed) to the prophets, However, some Jews in the diaspora considered Sirach scripture.
For instance, it was included in the canon of the Septuagint, the 2nd century BCE Greek version of the Jewish scriptures used by Diaspora Jews, through which it became part of the Greek canon.
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