The Greek Orthodox St. Nicholas Church, named after the patron of Beit Jala, was built over the Grotto, which is believed to be the place where St. Nicholas spent a part of his life as a hermit to worship in proximity to the place of Jesus’ birth. In the Ottoman Period, Karj Monks who came from Russia built a chapel that stood on the remains of previous constructions. In 1921, the nearly collapsed Church was demolished to give way for a new cross-shaped monastery that was erected by the local population in 1925. During the construction, an old cave and the ruins of an ancient Byzantine Church were discovered. Every year, on December 19, local Christians flock to Beit Jala to celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas.