I pulled on my pack and took an evening hike from downtown Bethlehem to the neighboring village of Beit Jala. There, on the slopes of one of the highest elevated points in old Judea stands a church dedicated to the memory of St. Nicholas. A dome and steeple, crowned in gold, mark the spot. Tradition has it that before he was a jolly giver of gifts, St Nick was a third century hermit. Greek Orthodox believers claim he spent time in worship here, near the place of Jesus's birth.
Biblically, it has been proposed that Beit Jala is Giloh, the hometown of Ahithophel (2 Sam 15:12).