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“After the Lord Jesus had talked with them [apostles], he was taken up to heaven and sat at the right side of God.” (Mark 16:19)
After his resurrection, Christ appeared to his disciples many times. However, after 40 days since he was brought back to live, Jesus rose up to heaven. According to Evangelist Luke, it happened close to Jerusalem, in the area of Mount of Olives, on the way to Bethany.
“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull”. (Jn 19:17)
Jesus Christ was unjustly pronounced to death, however, he did not oppose to the given sentence for it was his wish and act of an unconditional love to die for our sins and be a redeemer to us. He was crucified and later entombed on a hill called Golgotha in Aramaic, Kranion in Greek, and Catvary in Latin, which means ‘skul’. This was also the place of his resurrection.
Via Dolorosa, also known as Way of the Cross is situated in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the route that traditionally traces the steps of Jesus Christ on the way to Golgotha, the place of his crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
For centuries pilgrims have followed the Via Dolorosa daily, even though its path might not be exactly the one that Christ took on the last day of his life, as it has changed over the centuries together with the topography of the town. However, what is important, is the tradition and purpose of commemorating Christ’s passion under the cross.
One of the most Ancient Surviving Churches in the World
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke both discuss the birth of Jesus and each infer that Mary and Joseph were from Bethlehem. Matthew infers that Mary and Joseph only later moved to Nazareth because of Herod’s decree, while Luke indicates that Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth but only traveled to Bethlehem because of a special census. In both stories, however, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, possibly according to the Gospel of Luke, in a manger because there was no room at the inn.
Christianity was declared as a lawful religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine in 313 AD. After Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the Emperor and his mother Queen Helena ordered construction of three churches honouring great events of Christ’s life. The Nativity Church in Bethlehem was one them, beside the churches which mark the sites of R
A recent study pertaining in part to the history of the olive trees situated within the Garden of Gethsemeen indicates the trees can be dated to the middle of the twelfth century, making them at least 900 years old. Moreover, it is quite possible that the trees are even more ancient than that because the dating only refers to the exposed part of the tree and not to its roots.
The scientific research, which was completed under the auscpices of the Custody of the Holy Land, began in 2009 and was publicized for the first time last Friday (October 19, 2012). The results also correspond to the the construction of the Basiilica of Gethsemane, built around 800 years, and during which time the olive trees may have been arranged or rearranged in the garden.
All eight trees possess the exact same genetic fingerprint meaning that all have the same 'genotype' and were likely derived from the cuttings of branches from the same single olive tree.
Custos Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, presented the results of the study along with Massimo Pazzini, dean of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, Professor Giovanni Gianfrate, project coordinator, agronomist and expert on the history of olive growing in the Mediterranean, and Professor Antonio Cimato, coordinator of the scientific research, the first researcher of Tree and Timber Institute (Ivalsa) / CNR in Florence .
The Custos noted the importance of these
According to the tradition, the idyllic hillside of Mount of Beatitudes in the Galilee was the place where Jesus Christ gave a special teaching to His disciples and other gathered believers: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples come unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven…’” (Matt. 5:3) In total, the sermon consisted of 9 blessings gratifying humble and merciful behavior.
While climbing the hill, a pleasant wind from the Sea of Galilee was cooling our arms and faces. And when we reached the top of the mount, the seashore view and the red-flowered trees captured our attention. The contrast of the vivid colors and the black basalt stone created a great visual composition.
Tourism to Israel continues its upward trend as record numbers of tourists flocked to the Holy Land in April 2012.
A record 354,000 tourists arrived in Israel last month, representing a 12% increase over the last previous record April, set in 2010.
Over one million tourists have traveled to Israel during the first four months of 2012, representing a 19% increase over 2011 figures for the same period, and a 12% increase over the same period in 2010, the last record year for tourism. Easter and Passover both fell in the month of April in 2012 and in 2011.
Tourists praying outside the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy Travelujah
In addition, the number of tourists entering by air increased 3% over the same period last year representing 793,000 entries. About 140,000 people entered by land borders, up 8 % over the same period in 2011. Much of this increase is attributed to the political stability in Egypt and accordingly, Israel's major tourism crossing border with Egypt had 42,600 tourists representing an increase of 30% compared to the same period last year.
Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnik
Here is the Christmas story as told through the churches in the Holy Land. Christmas here highlights the small but ancient Christian community that has existed in the Holy Land since soon after the days of Jesus' time on earth.
The following is Travelujah's listing of churches significant to the Christmas story and Christianity in the Holy Land as the events appear in scripture.
1. Church of St. John the Baptist, Jerusalem
Luke 1:11-17: "Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'"
As seen in the book of Luke, the Christmas story actually begins with the announcement of the birth of Jesus' cousin, John
Orthodox Christmas in the Holy Land continues this week with Orthodox Christians celebrating their holidays and most of their services and festivities taking place on Christmas eve, Jan. 6.
Greek, Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians will converge at Manger Square in Bethlehem for their Christmas nearly two weeks after the Catholic and Protestant celebration of the holiday.
The disparity in the dates stems from the year 336 when Constantine declared Christianity the empire's religion. Eastern churches continued to commemorate Christmas on January 6 as the date for Christ's birth and his baptism, which up till then was celebrated as part of the Epiphany, the observance of the Magi arriving to see Jesus. The Western church continued to celebrate the Epiphany on Jan. 6 separat
There are few places as diminutive from the outside and yet grandiose on the inside as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The church was built originally in 325 A.D. by Constantine's mother. He was the first emperor of Rome to officially convert to Christianity. He razed a former temple of Venus which had been built on the site several hundred years before during Hadrian's effort to rename Jerusalem Aelia Capetolina.
The site is of course traditionally believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified and where he was later resurrected in the presence of his twelve disciples. It also known to house the last four Stations of the Cross.
The building you'll visit today however is not the original building, nor is it even the original remade building or even the remade original building. In fact, few places have been destroyed and rebuilt more times than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The church was destroyed by Persians in 614A.D. and then rebuilt for the first time soon after that. However, the church was to see additional destruction, being burned to the foundations in 1009 A.D. by Hakim, the Sultan of the Muslim Caliphate at the time (he's sometimes known as "Hakim the Mad").
It was partially rebuilt later in 1048 A.D. when money was provided by Constantine IX of the Byzantine Empire. However, the church built by Constantine IX's money was not nea