The Franciscans acquired the site in 1881, which carried out archeological excavations from 1953 to 1955. A Byzantine monastery was found: that belonged to the 5th century together with a small church dedicated to St. Anne. It was over these ruins of the Byzantine period that the Franciscans built in 1955 the present church.
The modern sanctuary was designed by Antonio Barluzzi, the architect of several shrines and sanctuaries built during the first half of the 20th century for the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. In a radical departure from his usual conservative style, Barluzzi designed the chapel as a stylized tear-shaped building, constructed in the form of a Greek cross.
A window behind the altar in the west wall frames a view of the Old City.