The Graphic Signs in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

2nd International Conference, 21-23 June 2022


Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (,

Clément Dussart (  

On-site: Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem (Shimshon street 3) 



Online Link Zoom:

ID meeting: 896 2098 6239; Passcode: 987835


Tuesday June 21st

9:00     Coffee

9:30     Welcome: Vincent Lemire (Head of the CRFJ)

10:00 Introduction: Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS CRFJ-CESCM) and Clément Dussart (CESCM, University of Poitiers)

10:30-12:30   1st session, moderator: Maria Villano (ERC GRAPH-EAST, CESCM)

  • “Towards a Periodisation of Graffiti between Antiquity and the Middle Ages” Carlo Tedeschi (Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti Pescara)
  • “The Tree of Abraham in the Nativity Church and its epigraphic exegesis”  Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS CRFJ-CESCM)

Lunch at the CRFJ

14:30-18:00     2nd session, moderator: Sercan Saglam (ERC GRAPH-EAST, CESCM)

  • “Scratch, Incise, Engrave: Technical Study of the Lapidary Graffiti of the Nativity” Thierry Grégor (CESCM, University of Poitiers)
  • “The discovery and the conservation of Graffiti on the columns of the Church of the Nativity”  Marcello Piacenti (Piacenti SpA Centro Restauri) [visio]

 Coffee Break

  • “Apposer son emblème. La mise en signe des espaces sacrés au Moyen Âge. L’exemple de l’église de la Nativité de Bethléem en perspective”  Laurent Hablot (EPHE, SAPRAT) [visio]


 Wednesday June 22nd

 9:00   Coffee

9:30-12:00    3rd session, moderator: Gil Fishhof (University of Haifa)

  • “Portraits, graffiti, and tattoos: pilgrims and the appropriation of Bethlehem’s sanctity” Michele Bacci (Freiburg University)
  • “Quotation and Glorification: Bethlehem’s Conciliar Texts in Local Context” Megan Boomer (Columbia University)

Lunch at the CRFJ

13:00   Departure to the Nativity Church, Bethlehem

14:00-17:00  Epigraphic tour of the basilica, and the cave of St. Jerome and the chapel of St. Joseph

18:00    Return to Jerusalem


Thursday June 23rd

9:00   Coffee

9h30-12:30    4th session, moderator: Yana Tchekhanovets (Ben-Gurion University of the Neguev)

  • “The Armenian Inscriptions and Graffiti of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem”  Khachik A. Harutyunyan (Scientific Research Center of the Historical and Cultural Heritage, Matenadaran)
  • “The Arabic inscriptions of the Basilica of the Nativity: inventory and research perspectives”  Anna Lagaron-Khalifa (ERC Horn-East, Iremam Aix-Marseille Université) [visio
  • “Recent discoveries of Latin graffiti and signs in the Nativity Church: new contributions to the history of a holy place and to pilgrimage practices (9th-16th )”  Clément Dussart (CESCM, University of Poitiers)

Lunch at the CRFJ

13:45   Departure to the Custody

14:00-16:00    Visit of the Treasure of Bethlehem at the Custody of the Holy Land, with fr. Stéphane Milovitch (ofm, Director of the Cultural Heritage Office)


18:00    Public Conference of Michele Bacci at the École biblique et archéologique française: “The Nativity Church in Bethlehem: New Approaches and Discoveries”


Closing Dinner




The inscriptions in the Nativity Church of Bethlehem

Lecture Epigraphik in der Hollandstraße, 12 October 2021, 5:00 pm

Epigraphic Writing in the Nativity Church of Bethlehem. Case study of the ERC GRAPH-EAST, by Estelle Ingrand-Varenne

Seizing the opportunity to bring together people in a way not geographically feasible in normal times, the lecture will be given as a Zoom meeting. Even a larger online attendance should not affect a free-for-all discussion, the floor being opened for comments and questions by all participants.
If you are planning to attend the lecture, please register via an email to
Those who have registered will receive an email with the Zoom link on the 11th.
We are keen to make the talk available to a broad audience, so please feel free to share the invitation with anyone you think might be interested.
We look forward to welcoming a large audience!

Writing in the Nativity Church of Bethlehem

Andreas Rhoby