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The Catholic Church of Saint John the Baptist, designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi, was built in 1939 on the site of Saint John the Baptist’s birth (Luke 1:57-80). It is located in the town of Ein Karem, west of Jerusalem. The sanctuary honors St. John’s birth from aged parents, the priest Zechariah and his wife St. Elizabeth, and contains the grotto where it is believed that the birth took place. Originally the site was home to a Byzantine Church which was subsequently destroyed. The Crusaders then built a church which, after being abandoned, fell into disrepair.
The property was purchased by the Franciscan Order and renovated in 1621 by Custos F. Tommaso Obicini da Novara with the assistance of the Spanish royal family, and made public only in 1675. The most recent renovation was that overseen by Antonio Barluzzi in 1939.
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