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March 27, 2014March 27, 2014  0 comments  Masses

On Easter and the preceding Holy Week, Jerusalem usually fills with visitors from all parts of the world. Pilgrims flock to the Holy City to commemorate the important events from the last days of Christ’s life.


The main celebrations will take place in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. However, other churches and shrines will also hold religious services honoring various happenings from last moments of  Christ’s terrestial life.


This year 2014, according to western and eastern Eucharistic calendars, Easter will be celebrated by both Catholic and Orthodox Christians on 20th of April. Moreover, this time will coincide with Jewish holiday of Passover, which will begin on the evening of 14th of April and end on the evening of the 22nd of April. This cover up of the dates will probably increase the number of visitors to Jerusalem at once, but will also make this time more interesting and meaningful for all.


Holy Light Jerusalem


Travelujah’s tip:


The best way to have an unforgettable spiritual experience in the Holy Land is to commemorate the Easter happenings with the local Christian community. Have a look at the following list of masses and events for that period of the year.


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List of the Holy Masses:




  • Commemoration of the Flagellation of the Lord in the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem at 17:00



  • Resurrection of Lazarus, celebrated in Bethany (El-Azariya) at the Tomb of Lazarus at 6:30 with a Holy mass in the
 Church of St. Lazarus at 7:30, that will be followed with a solemn mass and spiritual pilgrimage to the Ascension Shrine on the Mt. of Olives and to the Church of the Pater Noster.



  • Mass at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre at 16:00



  • Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre at 6:30



  • Commemoration of the Way of the Cross at Lithostrotos (Ecce Homo Convent) at 17:00



  • Friday of Seven Sorrows at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre at 9:00
  • Solemn mass on Calvary at
17:00 with a daily procession



  • Commemoration of the Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the Church of Betfage at 9:00
  • Eve of the Palm Sunday: Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre - 8 am; Solemn mass - 
14:30; Solemn entry of the Latin Patriarch, H.B. Fuad Twal and procession
at 00:40; Vigil in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament presided by Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custod of the Holy Land

13/04/2014 (Palm Sunday)


  • Procession with Palm branches and pontifical mass at the Mary Magdalene Altar in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre at 7:00
  • Palm Sunday procession on the Mount of Olives at 14:30

14/04/2014 (Holy Monday)


  • Via Dolorosa - V Station - Holy Masses in different languages from 6:00 till 8:00
  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Holy mass in Arabic on Calvary at 7:00; Solemn mass in the Holy Tomb at 8 am; 
Daily procession at 17:00

15/04/2014 (Holy Tuesday)


  • Solemn mass with singing of the Passion of Christ

at the Church of the Flagellation at 8:00
  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Solemn mass with singing of the Passion of Christ at 8:00; Daily procession at 17:00

16/04/2014 (Holy Wednesday)


  • Solemn mass with singing of the Passion of Christ
 at Gethsemane in Basilica of the Agony at 8:00
  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Solemn mass with singing of the Passion of Christ and daily procession at 8 am;
Exposition and veneration of the Column in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament throuout the day from 10:00;
Tenebrae Service at 16:00

17/04/2014 (Holy Thursday)


  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Entry of the Latin Patriarch, H.B. Fuad Twal, pontifical mass with the Washing of the Feet and procession with the Blessed Sacramant
Notes at 8:00; Soon after the service (approx. 12:00) the doors of the Basilica will be closed - no exit or entrance; Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and service at 14:45 - The doors open and close shortly afterwards. After the service (approx. 18:00) the Basilica remains closed for the rest of the day.
  • Mount Zion - Last Supper Room: Spiritual pilgrimage to the Cenacle, Washing of the Feet, and to the Churches of St. James and St. Mark
with a departure from St. Savior's Monastery at 15:10;
  • Gethsemane - Basilica of the Agony: Holy Hour presided by Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land at 21:00 
(Note: 21:30 – 00:00 private prayer in silence)

18/04/2014 (Good Friday)


  • Celebration of the Passion of Christ on Calvary

in Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher at 7:15
  • Procession of the Way of the Cross, starting at 12:15
  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Service at 16:00; 
"Funeral" Procession at 20:15

19/04/2014 (Holy Saturday)


  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Easter Vigil at 6:30;
Evening Prayer in front of the Edicule at 18:00;
Pontifical celebration of the Liturgy of the Hoursat the Altar of Mary Magdalene, presided by the Custod of the Holy Land at 23:30

20/04/2014 (Easter Sunday)


  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre: Entry of the Latin Patriarch, H.B. Fuad Twal at 10:00;
Pontifical mass and procession at 10:30; Daily Procession at 17:00

21/04/2014 (Easter Monday)


  • Franciscan Shrine of Emmaus - Qubeibeh: Solemn mass presided by Fr. Piebattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land at 10:00;
Evening Prayer and Solemn Eucharistic Exposition
at 14:30
  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre:
 Solemn mass at 8:00;
Daily procession at 17:00

January 9, 2014January 9, 2014  0 comments  Historical Sites

Despite its small size, Palestinian village of Aboud has a lot of interesting sights to offer. From its beautiful natural countryside views full of olive and citrus trees, through various archaeological findings of great importance to the local legends and traditions.


People from Aboud state that the name of their village is given after the Biblical Prophet Obadiah (who is also said to be buried in Sebastiya). Aboud is also often called “city of flowers” for its rich nature. A document written by L.E.P. Lombarti in 1959 states that a priest Elias Al-Aboudi initiated this nickname.


Lemon Valley in Aboud Travelujah


How to get there?


Aboud is placed 30 km northwest from Jerusalem, in the Palestinian Territories. The village is located along the road #465, which can be reached by following the main road #60 towards north.


Significant Archaeological Findings


The remains of Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ayyubid, Mameluke and Ottoman occupations are evident in several sites of the village.


Roman Tombs in Aboud Travelujah


Just 2 km from the core of the village is located al-Maqata, which is an impressive site of ancient Roman quarry and burial place. The regular rectangular cuts in the dark stone are clearly visible. Ornaments of flowers and fruits decorate entrances to the tombs, which interiors are covered with (now faded) frescoes.


Ancient Churches of Aboud


There are ruins of nine ancient churches scattered around the area of Aboud.


St. Mary Church al-Abudiyah in Aboud Travelujah


In the middle of the village are located hardly seen ruins of its oldest church called by the locals Messieh, which name derives from the Arabic word meaning Christ. According to the local tradition, Aboud received the Christian faith from Christ himself that preached on that spot. The village lies on the principal Roman road via Gophna (Jifna) to Antipatris (Ras el-Ain) that Jesus and the Holy Family could have used when travelling between the Galilee and Jerusalem.


A colored byzantine mosaic floor of Simon’s Church was found on the site of the modern Roman Catholic Convent built in 1912/3.


St. Mary Church al-Abudiyah in Aboud Travelujah


The Orthodox church of St. Mary, which is also know under the name al-Abudiyah, is located in the center of the village. The first church was built during the 5th century A.D. Byzantine remains are incorporated in the later construction, which according to the inscription in the Aramaic language took place in the middle of the 11th century. Outside the present structure we can also see excavated Byzantine mosaic floor. The entire northern wall, most of the windows and the west door were added in the 18th century.


St. Barbara from Aboud


There were also found ruins of ancient churches dedicated to St. Tadros and St. Barbara. The local tradition keeps that the Saints were from the same village. Thus it is believed that both of them were from Aboud and it is not a coincidence that the churches named after them were found so close to each other.


Acoording to the Palestinian legend, St. Barbara was born in Aboud to a Roman landlord Dioscorus. The woman fell in love with a Christian man and was baptized, what made her pagan father extremely furious. He punished and imprisoned her. The next morning St. Barbara’s body was recovered and she managed to escape. Dioscorus send his soldiers to look for his daughter, but she hid in the fields of grain, which completely covered her. Unfortunately, finally her father found her and sentenced her to death in martyrdom.


St. Barbara Shrine in Aboud Travelujah


The Byzantine ruins of Saint Barbara’s church are located on a hill west of the village. The Saint is venerated by both Christian and Muslim villagers. Palestinians celebrate the feast of St. Barbara (Eid Burbara) on the 17th of December and on that day numerously pilgrimage to the site. Traditionally, probably because it was grain that saved Barbara, a sweet dish burbara made from wheat seasoned with sugar, cinnamon, fennel and anise, is prepared by women allover the country.


Hike in Aboud


It could be a great idea to visit the village on foot and even hike in its environs, especially during the spring time when a walker could enjoy the rich nature and plenty of spring flowers. ‘Walking Palestine’ book by Stefan Szepsi describes tree hiking trails around the village.


Canaan Winery


Canaan Winery in Aboud Travelujah


Canaan is a boutique winery that was established by Ibrahim Hmaid in his home village Aboud in 2005 as “a natural continuation of centuries-old wine making tradition in Palestine”. For production of his dry natural red wine Mr. Ibrahim uses the best quality baladi grapes that are grown in the area of Hebron hills, which is know for its vine abundance since the Biblical times.


If you would like to taste Canaan homemade wine so contact Mr. Ibrahim at 0599728078. He is also a very knowledgable person, who could tour you around Aboud.



Beata Andonia blogs regularly for Travelujah, the leading faith-based social network in the Holy Land. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010. 

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