An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A natural or artificial cave. The term is from the Italian for “cavern.” Grottos from natural caves were once seen as dwelling places for gods. A tradition from the second century holds that Jesus was born in a cave at Bethlehem, known as the Grotto of the Nativity. A basilica was built over this cave in 325. Many Roman Catholic churches and retreat centers have reproduced the cave at Lourdes, France, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.