The bearing of the fact that the shepherds were in the field watching their flocks, upon the date of the Lord's birth, has been already examined.
The residence of the shepherds is not mentioned, nor do we know the place where they were keeping watch. It appears to have been in the vicinity of Bethlehem, and yet some little distance removed. There is now, a mile or more east from the convent, a plain in which is a little village called the Village of the Shepherds. £Tot far from this village is pointed out the field where, it is said, they were feeding their flocks, and here is shown a grotto, called the Grotto of the Shepherds. In this field a church was built by the Empress Helena. In its neighborhood stood formerly a cloister, but now only ruins of a church or cloister are to be found. It is mentioned by Bernard, A. D. 867.1 " One mile from Bethlehem is the monastery of the holy shepherds to whom the angel appeared at our Lord's nativity." Tradition makes the number of Shepherds three or four, and gives their names.2