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April 10, 2011April 10, 2011  1 comments  Geography

The Holy Sepulchre is more than just a large, ancient church, but is a holy site for Orthodox and Catholic Christians divided into many smaller chapels dedicated to different parts of the Easter story.

Also known as the Church of the Resurrection, the cavernous church commemorates the hill of crucifixion and the tomb of Christ's burial. It sits on the edge of the Christian Quarter in the Old City and is home to several Christian denominations: Greek Orthodox, the Armenian Orthodox and the (Latin) Roman Catholic are the larger denominations while the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syrian Orthodox also possess rights and properties in the building.

Originally built by Constantine’s mother in 330 A.D. on top of a pagan worship site, inside the church many first-century tombs hewn from rock were discovered there, one identified as that of Joseph of Arimathea, used for the body of Jesus after his resurrection.

holy sepulchre, tomb, easterThe Church of the Holy Sepulcher has weathered many attacks during various periods of history in the Holy Land. Most of the present building is the result of 12th-century reconstruction by the crusaders. Since 1520, the keys of the church have been kept by a Muslim family rather than one of the Christian groups.

Because many denominations share the building, disputes often arise regarding the space. One is the continuing dispute between the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox concerning ownership rights in the Chapel of the Ethiopians, located on the roof of the Chapel of St. Helena. Also, during Easter fights sometimes break out between the Greek and Armenian Orthodox during the Holy Fire ceremony.

Click here for a list of services and the various chapels in which they take place.

The following is a description of the chapels and significant locations within the church, memorializing the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Tomb of Jesus
The tomb, also known as the edicule, is at the center of the Holy Sepulchre Church, and symbolically sits under the largest dome in the church. The tomb is used in turn by all of the denominations for daily mass. A rectangular, tall structure built of red granite and adorned with candlesticks outside the door, the edicule houses two small rooms - the Chapel of The Angel and the tomb itself. The Chapel of the Angel contains a stone, which represents part of the larger stone that was rolled away from Christ's tomb on the day of the resurrection, according to tradition. On this stone is an imprint of a hand believed to be that of one of the angels who waited in tomb to announce the resurrection. A Greek monk is always present in this room to guard the Tomb of Christ. The Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre contains the tomb of Christ, the 14th Station of the Cross and the holiest site in Christendom. A marble slab lies in the place where Jesus was laid.

holy sepulchre, tomb, easter, stone of anointingStone of Anointing
Upon entering the Holy Sepulchre from the spacious courtyard, the Stone of the Anointing or Unction, lies just beyond the iron doors. Tradition has it that this is the spot where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea. Jesus was anointed and wrapped in a clean linen cloth according to the Jewish tradition of those days. The limestone slab dates to 1808 replacing the one destroyed in the 12th century. Opulent lamps hang above the stone. Many pilgrims stop here first to kiss the stone before moving on to the rest of the church.

Golgotha (or Calvary)
To the right of the stone is a staircase that leads to two chapels on the tip of Golgotha, where Jesus was nailed to the cross. The first room is a Catholic Franciscan Chapel with an altar dedicated to the Nailing of the Cross (Station 11 of the Via Dolorosa). The Greek Orthodox Calvary is the second room, with the actual Rock of Golgotha (Station 12 of the Via Dolorosa) that can be seen through glass. Pilgrims may touch the rock through a small opening in the glass.

holy sepulchre, tomb, easterThe Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene
This Franciscan chapel, to the north of the tomb, is believed to the where Mary Magdalene watched Jesus’ burial, as recounted in Mark 15:47, and also encountered Jesus after his resurrection. This is the Catholic area of the church.

The Prison of Christ
This small area is believed to be where Jesus was temporarily held with the two thieves before he was crucified.

The Chapel of the Division of the Robe
The Armenian chapel is the location at which it is believed the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ robe according to John 19:24.

The Chapel of St. Longinus'
The Greek chapel is dedicated to Longinus, the Roman soldier who led the group of soldiers that escorted Jesus to Golgotha. According to Matthew 27:54, after the crucifixion the Roman centurion acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God.

The Chapel of the Crowning of the Thorns
This Greek Orthodox chapel is located at the base of Golgotha and, as the name suggests, memorializes the abuse Jesus suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers. According to John 19:2, the soldiers mocked Jesus and put on him a purple robe and crown of thorns. A small fragment of the column from the Prison of Christ is in this chapel.

holy sepulchre, tomb, easterThe Catholicon
The main chapel facing the Tomb of Christ is a large rectangular area with a dome and is considered the “naval of the world” - the spiritual center of the earth (Ezekiel 38:12). Two thrones are on the altar, one for the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the other for the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. The ornate chapel is a large area used by the Greek Orthodox.

The Chapel of St. Helena/Chapel of St. Gregory
The Greeks consider this Helena’s Chapel while the Armenians call it the Chapel of St. Gregory. Located at the base of the stairs near the Crowning of the Thorns, there is a throne and an original mosaic from the church which has been preserved. Along the stairway small crosses carved by medieval pilgrims are etched into the wall. The chapel has two apses, one dedicated to the repentant thief and the other to St. Helena, mother of Constantine who searched for the true cross, according to tradition.

The Chapel of St. Vartan
This Armenian chapel, not often open to the public, is adjacent to St. Helena’s Chapel and was only discovered in the 1970s. Remnants of the wall date back to the 2nd century and one is etched with a merchant ship and an inscription which translates "Lord, we shall go."

The Chapel of the Finding of the Cross
According to tradition, St. Helen discovered Jesus’ cross here in 330 AD. She found three crosses - one for Jesus and the two thieves crucified with him. She brought a sick man to touch each cross and determined that the one at which the man was healed was the cross of Christ.

The Coptic Chapel
Located on the other side of the tomb, the small chapel has its own separate entrance.

The Syrian Chapel
For the Syrian Orthodox Christians, this chapel on the east end of the church was used for burials in Jesus’ time.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for www.travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


April 15, 2011April 15, 2011  0 comments  Geography

With just a week until Easter, the celebrations that mark Holy Week begin on Sunday just as an estimated 100,000 Christian tourists flood the Holy Land this week to take part in the Easter season.

The Christians from overseas join the 146,000 Christians living in Israel who deem Easter their most important holiday.

This year, both the Orthodox and Catholic Easters coincide on April 24. Passover is in the middle of Easter week, beginning on Monday evening, April 18.


Jerusalem is the center of the Resurrection story. The following is a list of masses, gatherings and special events this week that commemorate the last days and resurrection of Jesus:

Sunday, April 17
easter, holy landPalm Sunday
7 a.m. Procession with Palms and Pontifical Mass at Holy Sepulchre
2:30 p.m. Procession from the Mount of Olives to St. Anne’s Church
the Armenians, Copts and Syrians join together for a processional three times around the rotunda in the Holy Sepulchre, each chanting or singing in their own language.

Monday, April 18
6 a.m. Mass at 5th Station of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa

Tuesday, April 19

7:30 a.m. Mass at the Church of the Flagellation

Wednesday, April 20
8:30 a.m. Mass at Gethsemane, Basilica of the Agony
All day: Veneration of the Flagellation Column at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the Holy Sepulchre:

Thursday, April 21

easter, holy land, foot washingHoly Thursday
8 a.m. Washing of the Feet at the Holy Sepulchre
2 p.m. Armenian Orthodox Foot Washing Ceremony at St. James Church
3:30 p.m. Catholic Pilgrimage to St. James in the Armenian Quarter and to the churches on Mount Zion
5 p.m. Armenian processional from the olive tree at the Holy Archangels Church, believed to be where Jesus before meeting Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas the High Priest (John 18:1
9-24). 9 p.m. Gethsemane: Holy Hour in the Basilica of the Agony


Friday, April 22
Good Friday

9:30 a.m. Good Friday Service in English at the Garden Tomb
12:15 p.m. Via Dolorosa: Way of the Cross. Starting from the First Station with the Franciscan Friars, followed by various

groups.
8:10 p.m. “Funeral" Procession at the Holy Sepulchre

easter, holy land, holy fireSaturday, April 23
Holy Saturday
6:30 a.m. Catholic Easter Vigil at Holy Sepulchre
1 p.m. Referred to as the Saturday of Light, or Sapt il-Noor, the Holy Fire Ceremony takes place at the Holy Sepulchre and is observed by Eastern Orthodox sects, such as the Greek, Syrian, Armenian, Greek and Russian churches as well as the Copts. Must arrive with a pass issued by one of the churches hours in advance of the service.
16:15 p.m. Resurrection Service in Arabic, with translation into Hebrew
7 p.m. Ethiopian Holy Fire service on roof of Holy Sepulchre. No pass required.

Sunday, April 24
Easter Sunday
holy sepulchre, tomb, easterMasses held at Holy Sepulchre, St. James Church and other churches in the Old CIty
6:30 a.m. “Son-Rise” Resurrection Service in English at the Garden Tomb
9:30 a.m. “Son-Rise” Resurrection Service in English at the Garden Tomb
11 a.m. Resurrection Service in Scandinavian at the Garden Tomb
12:30 p.m. Resurrection Service in French at the Garden Tomb

Monday, April 25
Easter Monday

Masses held at Holy Sepulchre, St. James Church and other churches in the Old City

Tags: easter holy land 

April 18, 2011April 18, 2011  1 comments  Geography

Holy Week was ushered in to Jerusalem on Sunday with thousands of Christians waving palms and walking the route believed to be the same one Jesus took when he entered Jerusalem in his final week.

easter, holy land, palm sunday“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!’ Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: ‘Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’” John 12:12-15

Thousands of Christians, both local Arabs and Armenians, plus pilgrims, poured into the alleys of the Old City to attend Palm Sunday services and then left with their symbolic fronds for family dinners or to visit more of the city.

The excitement that always marks this time in Jerusalem was palpable in the Old City on Sunday.  As the week carries on, the anticipation of the holy day builds until the Saturday of Light and then ultimately Easter Sunday.

Many of the Holy Week events in Jerusalem are relived as in the Bible. Because of the geography here, Christians can actually follow the footsteps of Jesus around Jerusalem to the holy sites that commemorate the week of his last supper, death and resurrection.

Anthony, a tourist from Romania, was making his first Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He said he was moved by being able to live out some of the passion of Jesus, on location.

easter, holy land“I think it is important to do this at least once in order to strengthen my faith,” he told Travelujah. “I feel the Easter story coming alive to me.”

Services took place at various churches around Israel and the Palestinian territories.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for www.travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

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April 22, 2011April 22, 2011  0 comments  Geography

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” John 19:17-19

easter, holy land, good fridayThrough occasional rain drops and thick clouds, thousands of Christian pilgrims carrying wooden crosses made their way along the slick stones of the Via Dolorosa to retrace the steps of Jesus as he carried his cross to Gologotha and was crucified on Good Friday in Jerusalem.

The Via Dolorosa, or the Way of Suffering, is marked by 14 Stations of the Cross, where Jesus is believed to have stopped on his way to Golgotha. The final four stations are in side the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Some 100,000 Christian pilgrim
s from Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Russia, Armenia, France, the United States and many other nations, are visiting the Holy Land for Easter Week. Hundreds were crowded into the courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre this morning awaiting their turn inside the church that most Orthodox and Catholic Christians contain the original crucifixion and burial site.

Jesus was sentenced and crucified on Good Friday, and rose from the dead three days later.

“It is awesome, how can I explain?” said Meaza Yohannes, an Ethiopian pilgrim who was in Israel for the first time. “Especially for me being a Bible teacher. Everything that is in the Bible I am seeing with my own eyes. The Bible is coming alive.”

easter, holy land

An Italian tourist, Mirella from Florence, said that every stone in the Old City was special.

Local Christians were busy preparing for the holiday, the highlight of the Christian calendar for the community here. Candles were being sold in anticipation of the Saturday of Light, the climax of festivities for Orthodox Christians.

On Good Friday, each church held  its own procession from its Old City headquarters to the Holy Sepulchre to hold mass there. Some churches hold a burial service in the afternoon as well and then prayer vigils in dark churches throughout the night.
 
By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for www.travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

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April 24, 2011April 24, 2011  0 comments  Geography

From the Holy Fire Ceremony on Saturday to all-night services and sunrise celebrations on Sunday, Christians in Israel reveled in Easter festivities celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

For many Orthodox Christians, the climax of the Easter season is on Saturday at the Holy Fire ceremony.

Angelina Karageuzian, an Armenian Orthodox Christian, told Travelujah she goes to the service every year - and it never gets old for her. She walked with the Armenian processional to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at 11 a.m. where she and thousands of other faithful - local Christians and pilgrims alike - waited standing for the ceremony at 2 p.m.

holy sepulchre, tomb, easter“That moment when the light comes out, it’s a different, special feeling,” she said. “I wait for that moment. I am ready to wait for hours for that moment. It is very spiritual.”

Some 10,000 worshippers packed into the Holy Sepulchre for the ceremony including Greek, Russian, Armenian Orthodox and Coptic and Syrian Christians. From early morning, Christians begin to crowd into the Old City to get into the church.

The Holy Fire ceremony has been taking place at the Holy Sepulchre for 1,200 years. Worshippers believe that a flame miraculously emerges from the tomb of Jesus at 2 p.m. each year. Greek and Armenian clergymen in the tomb catch the flame with their candles and then pass it to the congregants in the dark, cavernous church. As the flame is passed from person to person, the church lights up with the candles of 10,000 worshippers and the church bells announce the arrival of the light.

Each person holds a bundle of 33 slim candles bundled together, the number representing Jesus’ age before he was taken to Heaven. The flame is passed to anyone waiting with a candle, from inside the church all the way to those who couldn’t get passed the police barriers at Jaffa Gate. THe same day, candles ignited by the same flame are flown out to Orthodox communities throughout Israel, the Palestinian territories and the world. Some Catholics attend, although the ceremony is not endorsed by the church.

easter, holy landScouts from all the churches beat their drums in a festive procession leading the way to the Holy Sepulchre.

For Catholics and Protestants, Sunday is the primary day to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. A sunrise service took place at the Garden Tomb, a place where many Protestants believe the tomb of Jesus could be located. Several services in different languages took place throughout the day.

In the Old City, masses were held at the Holy Sepulchre and the churches in each of the convents marking the many Christian communities.

Traditionally, Christians have a large feast on Sunday afternoon before another afternoon mass.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for www.travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

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Tags: easter holy land 

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.

 

Travelujah is a leading faith-based social network that could be also your space to share your Holy Land tour and travel experiences with others. If you would like to do that, simply contact us on: info@travelujah.com

 

List of the Holy Masses:

 

02/04/2014

 

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

03/04/2014

 

  • 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.

05/04/2014

 

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

06/04/2014

 

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

09/04/2014

 

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

11/04/2014

 

  • 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

12/04/2014

 

  • 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

March 10, 2015March 10, 2015  0 comments  Events

Tourist arrivals to Israel and the Palestinian Territories has declined significantly since the spring of 2014, nevertheless the Holy Land continues to be an extremely safe travel destinations with an abundance of fascinating historical and religious sites as well as offering diverse cultural experiences. With the holidays of Easter and Passover right around the corner, numerous festivities and experiences will be occurring and there is no better time than now to start planning what to do during the upcoming holidays. 

 

Below you'll find Travelujah's top 10 ideas for Passover and Easter experiences you can only have on a Holy land tour.

 


1. Join the Palm Sunday and/or Good Friday Processions

Participate in the Palm Sunday and the Good Friday Processions. The Palm Sunday procession is held on Sunday March 29, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  

Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected to join this event. The procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering through the St. Stephen's Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne. 

The Good Friday procession (Via Crucis) is at 11:30 a.m. The Procession is led by the Franciscan Friars and begins at the First Station of the Cross in the Old City. The walk follows the path that Jesus took on the day of his death, known as the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. According to Father Juan Solana, the local representative of the Vatican,"Being a part of this very special procession," says Father Juan, "is a unique experience for any Christian."


Via Dolorosa

2. Participate in a Passover Seder

Over the last several years more Christians are seeking to understand the roots of Christianity and one of the best ways to delve deeper is to study the Torah and celebrate a Passover seder. Unlike Easter which is celebrated by attending mass, the Passover Seder is a true family celebration. If you have an opportunity to attend a seder  its can be a wonderfully meaningful experience. 

3. Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday or on Easter Sunday

Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday. This shrine is where the last five Stations of the Cross are located. No Easter in the Holy Land is complete without exploring this historic shrine. The Good Fridan services: 8.00 a.m. - Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Calvary. The doors will remain opened.4.00 p.m. - The Liturgy of the Hours. 8.10 p.m. - "Funeral" Procession.

On Easter Sunday the services are as follows

7:30 a.m. - Entry into the Basilica by the Latin Patriarch
8:00 a.m. - Solemn Mass of Resurrection and Procession around the Rotunda
5:00 p.m. - Daily Procession


4. Tour Mt. ZionMount Zion

To have a truly authentic experience, visit the Upper Room located at Mount Zion and while you are there make sure you read about the resurrection in the Gospels. Jesus's appearance to the Apostles occurred in the Upper Room. The Upper Room is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm. On Holy Thursday, April 2 - at 3:30 p.m. there is a Pilgrimage to the Cenacle and to the Church of St. James.


5. Attend "Resurrection Sunday" at the Garden Tomb

Easter Sunday also  referred to as "Resurrection Sunday",  is a special day at the Garden Tomb and services are held at April 5 at 6:30 am and 9:30  in English, Scandanavian at 11 and Korean at 12. Moreover the  Garden Tomb also holds its annual Arabic Easter event which coincides with Orthodox Easter and which brings together 500 to 600 Arab and Israeli believers. Seeing both Israelis and Palestinians together in prayer makes this an even more spiritually significant event.  This event is scheduled for April 11 in the afternoon. Call 02-539-8100 for details.

The Garden Tomb

6. Wake up early and attend Holy Fire Ceremony

The Holy Fire Ceremony is part of the Orthodox tradition and is a special festivity that only happens in Jerusalem, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On April 11 Orthodox Christians gather very early in the morning at the Church of the Sepulchre for the annual Holy Fire Ceremony. This is the highlight of Orthodox Christmas when the spirit of Jesus fills the omb site of the Holy Sepulchre. A flame appears inside the tomb and is caught by the Greek Patriarh and an Armenian Orthodox priest and then shared with all the congregants holding candles. 

 holy fire


7. Attend the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall

 

On the third day of Passover, April 6, 2015 a special priestly blessing, known as the Bircat Cohanim is recited twice at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, first at 9 am during the morning service and again at 10 am during the Musaf service. You will hear the leader of the service reciting the blessing over the loudspeaker in order that everyone can follow and recite the blessing in unison. Our Travelujah tip: bring water!


Western Wall


8. Enjoy the Israel Museum for FREE on April 10, 2015

 

Celebrate Passover by enjoying free entrance to the Israel Museum on Friday April 10 only, from 10 am to 2 pm. The Israel Museum is kicking off its 50th anniversary celebration with a new exhibit that just opened, "6 Artists / 6 Projects." As an FYI, Bank Hapoalim often sponsors free entrances to a number of museums all over the country during the intermediate days of Passover, April 5 - 9, 2015. Its worth checking Bank Hapoalim's website as you get closer to the holiday to see if they will be offering something this year.

9. Dead Sea Music Festival - April 5 - 9, 2015

For the 19th year, Israelis and tourists from abroad will descend to the Dead Sea for this highly anticipated rock music festival where they will enjoy performances by top Israeli artists.


10. 8th Annual Stone in the Galilee Sculpting Symposium - Maalot-Tarshiha, April 5 - 8, 2015  

 

This international stone sculpting festival   is now in its 20th year and brings together many international artists as well as Israel's most prominent sculptors creating art for public spaces. The festival includes dialogues as well as an indoor exhibition. Call 04-9578888


For further information on Passover and Easter in the Holy Land email info@travelujah.com

Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of 
Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land as well as the Co-Founder of Breaking Bread Journeys, a joint Israeli-Palestinian tourism project.



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Tags: easter passover top 10  

February 13, 2013February 13, 2013  0 comments  Religious ceremonies

“Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights” (Mt 4:2)

 

On Ash Wednesday, 13th of February 2013, the Roman Catholic Church enters the liturgical period of Lent – forty days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving that are going to lead us through the Holy Week towards the joyful celebrations of Easter.

 

The period of Lend commemorates Christ’s forty days and nights of strict fasting in the desert, right after His baptism and just before the beginning of His public ministry. There in the wilderness of Judea, traditionally on the Mount of Temptation, Jesus endured Satan’s temptation and again overcame the sin. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Mt 4:1)

 

Lent Comes to Jerusalem Travelujah 

 

Lent, observed in deep prayer, penance and repentance, is a special time of preparation for Christ’s death and rebirth. Here, in Jerusalem, this period has a really special meaning as it can be celebrated with one of the earliest Christian communities in the world, in the town which has witnessed His passion and resurrection.

 

Ash Wednesday

 

The Lent opening mass of Ash Wednesday, celebrated in St. Savior's Church in Jerusalem at 7 pm (in Italian), is well attended by local and foreign Catholic believers. According to Western Churches, Ash Wednesday holds the tradition of scattering ashes on the foreheads of the faithful  to symbolize their repentance before God. “[…] for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

 

Celebrations in the Holy Sepulcher

 

Throughout the period of Lent until Easter, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the Calvary – the place where Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, will be the focus palce for the various liturgical celebrations.

Lent Comes to Jerusalem Travelujah

Each Saturday during Lent, a solemn Way of the Cross, lead by the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, takes place along the stations of the cross in the Basilica, with a special procession around the Tomb of Christ. The fragrance of incense, sounds of organs and hymns, and hundreds of lit candles will accompany the celebration. Just before midnight, the night vigils begin in the Latin part of the church, followed by another procession around the Holy Tomb.

On Sundays, His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch, celebrates High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

 

16/02 – Saturday - Eve of the 1st Sunday of Lent

 

  • 2 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
  • 11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.

17/02 – 1st Sunday of Lent

 

  • 8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.

23/02 – Saturday - Eve of the 2nd Sunday of Lent

 

  • 2 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
  • 11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.

24/02 - 2nd Sunday of Lent

 

  • 8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.

02/03 – Saturday - Eve of the 3rd Sunday of Lent

 

  • 2:30 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
  • 11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.

03/03 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

 

  • 8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.

09/03 – Saturday - Eve of the 4th Sunday of Lent

 

  • 2:30 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
  • 11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.

10/03 – 4th Sunday of Lent

 

  • 8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.

16/03 – Saturday - Eve of the 5th Sunday of Lent

 

  • 4 p.m. -  The daily procession of the Friars of the Holy Sepulchre. No entry of his Beatitude the Latin Patriarch at 2:30 p.m.

17/03 – 5th Sunday of Lent

 

  • 5:30 a.m. - High Mass at the Tomb, sung by the Friars of the Holy Sepulchre (No Entry of His Beatitude at 08:30)

 

Via Dolorosa

 

Lent Comes to Jerusalem Travelujah

 

Every Friday at 3 pm, visitors can join the Franciscan brothers as they walk down the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross to commemorate Jesus’ passion under the cross. The procession walks along the streets of Jerusalem to mark the journey of Christ from Pilate’s Pretorium to Golgotha. The scriptures are recited in English, Arabic, Italian and Spanish.

 

Franciscan Pilgrimage

 

During Lent, Franciscan brothers make pilgrimages to various shrines around Jerusalem related to the Passion of Christ:

 

 

  • 27/02 (Wednesday) - Commemoration of the Weeping of the Lord at 4 pm in Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives.
  • 06/03 (Wednesday) - Commemoration of the Agony of the Lord at 4 pm in the Basilica of the Agony of Jesus in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.
  • 13/03 (Wednesday) - Commemoration of the Flagellation of the Lord at 4 pm in the Flagellation Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.
  • 14/03 (Thursday) in Bethany (El-Azarya) at the Tomb of Lazarus at 6:30 am and at 7:30 am in the Church. The celebrations will be follow by the spiritual pilgrimage to Pater Noster Church and the Chapel of Ascension.
  • 20/03 (Wednesday) - Commemoration of the Way of the Cross at 5 pm in Lithostrotos (Ecce Homo) Church in the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem.

 

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Beata Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.


March 9, 2010March 9, 2010  1 comments  Easter

It is the season of Lent, the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter, and Israel's Christian community is bustling with Easter preparations from the spiritual to the culinary.

 

 

Jerusalem, of course, is central to the Easter story. Within the next month, thousands of pilgrims will converge in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and rose again. The Catholic and Orthodox Easters coincide this year and come during the Jewish Passover. Catholics and Orthodox Christians use different calendars to determine the dates of their feasts. Easter is the most significant holiday for Christians in the Holy Land, even more of a draw than Christmas.

 

 

"Christmas, in the West, has eclipsed Easter whereas the big feast of the Church is Easter," Father Athanasius Macora, a Franciscan monk serving at the Custody of the Holy Land, told Travelujah, the only Christian social network focused on learning about and traveling to the Holy Land. "It is the central feast, the most important feast of the church. With the local community (in Israel) you do appreciate the importance of Easter."

 Pilgrims praying on the Via Dolorosa

 

Indeed, the ceremony and involvement by local Christians and pilgrims from all over the world that go into Easter week have a tendency to take over the Old City. Marching bands replete with bagpipes and drums gear up to represent their parish on Holy Saturday. Women begin baking the traditional Easter cookies, maamoule, butter cookies filled with dates or walnuts. Eggs will be painted in pastels and distributed to children.

 

 

Lent is marked differently by the different denominations. Some fast more, some less. But no matter how it is marked, lent is a time of internal, personal preparation for the upcoming feast.

 

 

"It is a spiritual retreat for the entire church. It involves fasting, but above all, the goal is to try to change one's life to come closer to the Lord in preparation for the Easter celebration," Macora said. "The goal is to arrive at some positive change in your life, to create a space for the risen Lord."

 

 

All of the events and services of Easter will bring to mind an event during Jesus' last week before his death and resurrection. A mass at Dominus Flevit will recall where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. At Gethsemane, one can reflect on Jesus' last few hours before his arrest. A processional takes place on Good Friday on the Via Dolorosa, the path many believe Jesus took carrying his cross to Golgotha. And at the Holy Sepulchre, the possible sight of his death and resurrection, participants can remember the sacrifice plus the power of the Son of God to die for us, and yet overcome death.

 

 

The Palm Sunday processional is perhaps the most visual of all the masses. From the Mount of Olives hundreds of people join the processional to St. Anne's in the Old City carrying palm and olive branches, in a touching reflection of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem one week before he was killed.

 

 

Macora said there are 4,000 Catholics in Jerusalem.

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy  Land.


March 17, 2013March 17, 2013  0 comments  Easter

 

“In two days, as you know, it will be the Passover Festival, and the Son of Man, will be handed over to be crucified.” (Matt. 26:2)

 

Those are the words Jesus said to his disciples two days before he was captured and sentenced to death. At the same time, chief priests and elders, who were against Jesus, were making plans how and when to arrest him.

 

Jesus Is Anointed at Bethany

 

Bethany Travelujah

 

Jesus was then anointed in Bethany, at the house of Simon. While he was eating, a woman came and broke a jar containing a very expensive perfume made of the pure nard, which she poured on his head. Christ’s disciples did not understand why she would ‘waste’, as they thought, such a valuable thing. However, Jesus excused her and said that she prepared him for the upcoming burial.

 

To commemorate this event, Franciscan brothers make an annual pilgrimage to Bethany (El-Azariya). This year 2013, they gathered on Thursday 14th of March, first at the Tomb of Lazarus and later in the church. The celebration was followed by the spiritual pilgrimage to Pater Noster Church and the Chapel of Ascension.

 

Holy Thursday - The Last Supper and Arrest of Jesus

 

Getsemane Travelujah

 

On the first day of Passover, the disciples asked Jesus, where they should eat their meal. So He ordered that they say these words to a ‘certain man’: “The Teacher says, My hour has come; my disciples and I will celebrate the Passover at your house.” (Matt 26:18).

 

Already at the supper, suddenly, Jesus rose from the table and started to wash and dry disciple’s feet. When he approached Simon Peter, the disciple wanted to refuse: “Are you going to wash my feet Lord?” (John 13:6) Jesus wanted to teach his followers that all the people are equal and that no one is better than another: “I am telling you the truth: no slave is greater than his master, and no messenger is greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:16)

 

Again at the table, Christ said to his twelve disciples: “I tell you, one of you will betray me.” (Matt 26:21) After hearing those words, all of the apostles became very upset. Jesus surely knew that one of his disciples - Judas Iscariot, went to the high priests and agreed with them on a prize of the thirty silver coins for betraying his teacher.

 

While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread and asked the gathered to eat it as it was his body, and he took a cup of wine and told them to drink from it as it was his blood. At that moment, Christ revealed that he is going to die for the forgiveness of sins of all his followers.

 

Cenacle Travelujah

 

After the meal, Jesus and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane. He wanted to pray on the mount, he took with him only Peter and two sons of Zebedee: James and John, so they could guard the place while he was praying. However, the apostles fell asleep. Suddenly Judas arrived with the soldiers behind him. He kissed his teacher, and pointed out who should be captured. Christ let the people arrest him to fulfill the prophecies written in the Scriptures.

 

Holy Thursday (28th of March 2013) solemnizes the events described above.  At 7 a Pontifical Mass of Washing of the Feet will be celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre. At 3:10pm in the afternoon, there will be a pilgrimage beginning from St. Saviour’s church to the Cenacle and to the churches of St. James and St. Mark. There will also be a mass in the Basilica of Agony in Gethsemane at 9 pm, followed with time for private prayers from 10 pm.

 

Good Friday – Passion of the Lord

 

Jesus was taken to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas, where all the teachers of Law and elders gathered. “The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some false evidence against Jesus to put him to death.” (Matt. 26:59). Christ, when asked if he is the Messiah, admitted but the gathered people did not believe him and accused him for blasphemy.

 

In the morning, the priests handed Jesus over to Pilate, the Roman governor, who tried to inquire if the one he received was the “King of the Jews”.

 

There was a tradition that at every Passover Festival a Roman governor would free a Jewish prisoner selected by the crowd. The people had a choice between two prisoners: “Which one do you want me to set free for you? Jesus Barrabas or Jesus called the Messiah?” (Matt. 27:16) Barrabas was one of the well-known criminals, but neverthe;ess the crowd wanted him to be freed.

 

Even though, Pilate saw Jesus the innocent, he could not go against the people’s wish. “I am not responsible for the death of this man. This is your doing!” (Matt. 27:24) They wanted Jesus to be crucified.

 

At the governor’s palace, Pilate’s soldiers took off Christ’s garments and put on Him a scarlet robe and a crown made of the thorny branches, which hurt him. After making fun of him, they dressed him in his own clothes and led him towards his crucifixion at Golgotha (Place of the Skull).

 

Via Dolorosa Travelujah

 

Jesus died on a cross, after screaming “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” Many strange things happened on the day of his death. There was an earthquake and it was completely dark in the middle of the day. “Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matt 27:51) All this made many people believe that he really was the Son of God.

 

Good Friday (29th of March 2013) is marked by various celebrations held in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The Way of the Cross will be followed at 11:30 am from the First Station to the Golgotha. The “Funeral” procession will take place after midnight.

 

Easter Sunday – The Resurrection

 

There was a prophecy that Jesus would rise from death on the third day after His death. The chief priests knew this and therefore they ordered his tomb to be well guarded to prevent the disciples from stealing Christ’s body.

 

On the Sunday morning after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, went to see the tomb. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord came from heaven to roll away the stone blocking the tomb. The guards were so afraid that they could not move. The angel spoke to the women: “He is not there; he has been raised, just as he said.”

 

Calendar of the Holy Week and Easter Celebrations:

 

Palm Sunday – 24th of March

 

  • 6:30 am – Jerusalem – Holy Sepulchre: Procession with Palms and Pontifical Mass at Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene
  • 2:30 pm – Bethphage – Palm Sunday procession over Mt. of Olives to St. Anne’s Church
  • 4 pm – Jerusalem - Holy Sepulchre: Daily Procession

 

Monday of Holy Week – 25th of March

 

  • 6 am – Jerusalem –  5th Station: Masses until 8 am
  • 6 am – Jerusalem – Holy Sepulchre (Calvary): Parish Mass (in Arabic)
  • 7 am – Jerusalem – Holy Sepulchre: Daily Solemn Mass
  • 4 pm – Jerusalem – Holy Sepulchre: Daily Procession

 

Tuesday of Holy Week – 26th of March

 

  • 7 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Solemn Mass with signing of the Passion
  • 7:30 am – Jerusalem –  Flagellation: Solemn Mass with signing of the Passion
  • 4 pm – Jerusalem – Holy Sepulchre: Daily Procession

 

Wednesday of Holy Week – 27th of March

 

  • 7 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Solemn Mass with signing of the Passion and daily procession
  • 7 am – Jerusalem – Gethsemane (Basilica of the Agony): Solemn Mass with signing of the Passion
  • 9 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Veneration of the Flagellation Colum throughout the day in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel
  • 3 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Tabernacle Service

 

Holy Thursday – 28th of March

 

  • 7 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Pontifical Mass (Washing of the Feet). Procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • 1: 45 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Notes: Basilica doors open, and close shortly afterwards. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Service. Notes: Exit after the Service (5 pm). The basilica remains closed for the rest of the day.
  • 3:30 pm – Jerusalem –  Mount Sion: Pilgrimage to the Cenactle and to the churches of St. James and St. Mark (Departure from St. Saviour’s at 3:10 pm)
  • 9 pm – Jerusalem –  Gethsemane: Holy Hour in the Basilica of Agony (No Photographs) Notes: 10pm – midnight: private prayers in silence

 

Holy Friday – 29th of March

 

  • 8 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Notes: Basilica doors open only for celebration, not for visits), and close shortly afterwards.
  • 8:15 am – Jerusalem – Calvary: Celebration of the Passion of the Lord
  • 11:30 am – Jerusalem – Via Dolorosa: Way of the Cross. Starting from the First Station with the Franciscan Friairs, followed by various groups.
  • 6 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Service
  • 00:30 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: “Funeral” Procession

 

Holy Saturday – 30th of March

 

  • 7:30 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Easter Vigil
  • 3:15 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Entrance and Solemn Procession
  • 6 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Evening Prayer in front of the Edicule
  • 00:30 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Pontifical Celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours in front of the Edicule, with the Custos of the Holy Land officiating

 

Easter Sunday – 31st of March

 

  • 6:30am SonRise service -Garden Tomb
  • 9:30 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Entrance of the Latin Patriarch
  • 9:45 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Pontifical Mass and Solemn Procession
  • 1200 Resurrection service in Korean broadcast on short wave radio to 2000+ Korean churches planted in the Far East
  • 5 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Daily Procession

 

Easter Monday– 1st of April

 

  • 8:30 am – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Daily Solemn Mass
  • 10 am – Emmaus (Qubeibeh) – Pontifical Mass and Blessing of bread by the Custos of the Holy Land
  • 2: 30 pm – Emmaus (Qubeibeh) – Solemn Eucharistic Exposition
  • 5 pm – Jerusalem –  Holy Sepulchre: Daily Procession


 

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Beata Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.


March 26, 2013March 26, 2013  0 comments  Easter

Christians visiting the Holy Land in the spring sometimes fail to appreciate the link between Passover and Easter: Jesus came to Jerusalem in April circa 34, making his triumphal entry on the Sunday of the last fateful week of his life, in order to offer a Passover sacrifice at Herod's magnificent newly-built Temple.

He celebrated the Passover seder feast that Thursday night, an event commonly referred to as the Last Supper. Returning with his apostles to their encampment at Gethsemane on the nearby Mount of Olives, he was arrested that evening after being betrayed by Judas.

On Friday, the holy day of Passover, Jesus was tried and then crucified. His corpse was hurriedly placed in a new sepulcher or family tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea near to the Skull Hill execution grounds (believed by some to be located adjacent to what is known as the Garden Bomb) to so as not to violate the Sabbath that began Friday shortly before sundown. Sunday morning it was discovered that the rolling stone sealing Jesus' tomb had been shifted, and the sepulcher was empty. Jesus had arisen.

When it came to actually specifying the date in which Easter would be celebrated annually, the Church fathers wanted the holiday to closely follow Passover, after all, that was when Christ died. But interestingly, in determining the date of Easter, Christianity did not make Easter's date dependent on Passover and, in fact there are years when Easter falls almost a full month in advance of Passover. Why?

This is because Judaism follows a lunar calendar comprising twelve lunar months of 29 to 30 days in length with the new moon marking the beginning of each month and the full moon occurring halfway through the month. Because the lunar calendar is shorter than the solar calendar, over time the Jewish calendar falls out of line with the seasons which is why an additional month is added to the Jewish calendar very few years.

Western Catholics, including Roman Catholics and Protestants, celebrate Easter on the Sunday immediately following the paschal full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. These dates are fixed in advance according to the Ecclestiastical full moon schedule that was set in 1583A.D. and can vary from the date of the Paschal full moon by up to two days. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is the following Sunday. It can fall anywhere March 22 and April 25, and this year it falls on March 31.

The Eastern or Orthodox Churches base their holiday calculations on the Julian calendar rather than the revised Gregorian calendar, adopted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, The Julian calendar does not take into account the extra day every fourth leap year. Consequently, both the Western and Eastern churches only occasionally celebrate Easter on the same day. This year the Orthodox church celebrates Easter a full five weeks after Roman Catholics and Protestants - Sunday, May 5.

 

Tags: easter passover 

February 27, 2013February 27, 2013  0 comments  Holy Sites

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.

 

Via Dolorosa has 14 stations, called Stations of the Cross, which relate to the particular events that happened on the way to the Place of the Skull. Let us take a closer look at each of the stations to understand better the events of the past.

 

Station I – Jesus is condemned to death

 

“So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.” (Matt 27:2)

 

The Via Dolorosa starts in front of the Ottoman building of ‘Madrasa el-Omariyya’, a school situated in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, around 300 m from the Lion’s Gate. The tradition says that here stood the Roman Antonia Fortress where Jesus was sentenced to death. Here, every Friday at 3 pm through October till March or at 4 pm through April till September, the Franciscan brothers begin their walk along the Via Dolorosa.

 

Station II - Jesus carries His cross

 

“Then they led him away to crucify him.” (Matt 27:31)

 

Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem Travelujah Monastery of the Flagellation

 

This second station is in front of the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation, which was completely rebuilt in 1929 on medieval foundations. The church traditionally marks the place where Jesus took up the cross, after being flogged and crowned with thorns.

 

The Franciscan complex on the site contains two churches - the Flagellation and also the Condemnation. The buildings surrounding the monasteries house the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, a prestigious institute of biblical, geographical and archaeological studies and Studium Museum, which contains various archaeological items excavated by the Franciscans.

 

The Way of the Cross follows under the magnificent Ecce Homo Arch. The arch stands on the site where Pontius Pilate is said to have uttered the words: “Ecce homo” - Here is the man” (John 19:5) while exposing Jesus to the crowd. The arch was built in 70 AD to support a ramp being laid against the Antonian Fortress and after rebuilding Jerusalem in 135 AD the arch was reconstructed as a monument of Roman victory.

 

Station III - Jesus falls the first time

 

The third station is located on the crossroad between the streets of Via Dolorosa and El-Wad. It marks the moment when Jesus fell for the first time under the weight of the cross,  commemorated by a relief above the door of a small chapel on this site.

 

The sanctuary once was the main entrance to the baths “Hammam es-Sultan”, built in 15th century. It was bought by the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate in 1856. It is sometimes called the ‘Polish chapel’ as it was renovated with the financial help of the Polish army in the late 40s of the 20th century.

 

Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem Travelujah Interior of the Ecce Homo Chapel

 

Station IV - Jesus meets his mother

 

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” (Jn 19:26)

 

According to the tradition, the fourth station is situated at the place where Jesus met his mother Mary on the way to Golgotha. The location of this point, a bit further on El-Wad street, is exactly in front of the Armenian Church of Our Lady of the Spasm from 1881. When digging the foundations for the church, a great mosaic dating to the 7th century was found, which probably belonged to the church of St. Sophia (Holy Wisdom).

 

Between the third and fourth station, look under your feet and notice a well preserved stones remaining from the Roman street, probably the “secondary” Cardo of Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem). It is well possible that Jesus could have walked on these stones.

 

Station V - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross

 

Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem Travelujah V Station of the Cross

 

“As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.” (Matt 27:32)

 

Jesus’ pitiful condition and the weight of the cross made the way extremely difficult. Roman soldiers ordered Simon of Cirene (today’s Libia) to help Jesus carry the cross. There are some theories that perhaps Simon might have been one of Christ’s disciples, however, he might have been just one of the pilgrims coming to Jerusalem in observance of Passover.

 

The fifth station commemorates this event and is located at the small church built in 1895, on the first Franciscan site in Jerusalem founded in 1229-1244.

 

Station VI - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

 

This station is dedicated to a woman who wanted to ease the pain of Christ by whipping his face from blood and sweat with her veil. Then the piece of material she used revealed the impression of Christ’s face.

 

The exact story is not mentioned in the Gospels but can be based on those verses from Luke “A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.”(23:27) proving the presence of women dedicated to Jesus at the site.

 

According to the tradition, which might be based on the writings of the ancient scholar Eusebius, it was Berenice (St. Veronica), a women once healed by Jesus, who wiped his face. The name Veronica could be a corruption of the name Berenice. However, the woman’s name could be also derived from the Latin words vera and icon which mean ‘true image’ - Jesus’ portrait on her veil.

 

In the wall of a small Greek Catholic chapel of “The Holy Face” there is an old stone with an inscription indicating the sixth station. The remains are probably parts of ancient monastery of St. Cosmas and Damian from the middle of 6th century.

 

Station VII -Jesus falls the second time

 

In the time of Christ, Golgotha was outside the city walls. Traditionally, the seventh station of the Via Dolorosa commemorates Jesus second fall under the weight of the cross. This time, he collapsed when crossing one of the gates of Jerusalem leading out to the country. The place is called “Gate of Judgment”.

 

The station is marked by a large Roman column placed in the Franciscan chapel, which once stood on the ancient thoroughfare, the Cardo Maximus, the main route of Roman Jerusalem.

 

Station VIII - Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

 

On the outer wall of a Greek Orthodox St. Charambalos monasterythere is a small cross carved that marks the eight station, which is the traditional point where Jesus met the the women of Jerusalem, who mourned over his destiny. “Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.’” (Luke 23:28)

 

Station IX- Jesus falls the third time

 

A bit further and very close to Golgotha, the ninth station represents the site where Jesus fell for the third time. The spot is marked by a cross on a pillar located on the wall of the Coptic Patriarchate building, the northeastern part wall of the Holy Sepulcher.

 

Next to the ninth station there is a small Coptic Orthodox church of St. Helen. Inside there is a great water cistern, believed to be discovered by the mother of Emperor Constantine  in the 4th century AD and has served as a source of water for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

 

Station X-  Jesus is stripped of his garments

 

Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem Travelujah Facade of the Holy Sepulchre Church

 

 “[…] they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Matt 27:35)

 

The tenth station is placed at the entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and exactly in the Chapel of the Franks. At this spot Jesus was stripped off his clothes and once more ashamed in front of all the gathered people.

 

Station XI - Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross

 

After reaching the place of the crucifixion, the hill just outside Jerusalem, Jesus was nailed to the cross. This station is placed inside of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, at the Latin altar, which in  1938 was decorated with mosaic representing the scene of the crucifixion.

 

“They crucified him […]”(Matt 27:35) – These short sentence includes a very severe torture which was implied on Jesus for putting him to death.

 

Station XII - Jesus dies on the cross

 

Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem Travelujah XII Station of the Cross

 

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” (Matt 27:50)

 

After the last cry on the cross, the Christ died in agony – the Saviour consummated his great sacrifice for our sins. The Greek Orthodox altar marks the twelfth station, just next to the previous one. Under the altar can be seen a silver plate with a hole in the middle, which shows the spot where the Cross stood.

 

Station XIII - Jesus is taken down from the cross

 

Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem Travelujah 

Mosaics in the Holy Sepulchre

 

After he died, Jesus was taken from the cross and prepared for entombment: “Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (Jn 19:40) It was in the habit to break bones of convicts to check if they are really death. But in case of Jesus, a soldier stubbed his right side with a spear to make the scripture come true “”

 

The altar of the Stabat Mater, with a beautiful wooden 16-17th century statue of Mater Dolorosa donated in 1778 from Lisbon, marks the thirteenth station that stands between the eleventh and twelfth stations.

 

Station XIV - Jesus is laid in the tomb

 

This is the last station of the Way of the Cross, situated in Rotunda – a round hall of the Holy Sepulcher, with the Tomb of Christ in its centre.

 

Jesus’ body was requested by one of his disciples Joseph, a rich man of Arimathea, who placed the body in his own tomb situated close to the place of the Skull. Christ could not be entombed any further than that, because of the nearness of the Sabbath.

 

 

If you go:

 

When to go?

 

It is possible to follow Via Dolorosa at any day of a week, however the most common days to do it are Fridays. The Franciscan brothers follow the Way of the Cross every Friday, starting at 3 pm (October - March) or at 4 pm (April - September) at the 1st station in front of the ‘Madrasa el-Omariyya’ school. On the Good Friday, 23rd of March 2013, the solemn procession of Via Dolorosa will start at 11:30 am.

 

Opening Hours:

 

  • Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre – April – September: 5 am – 9 pm; October – March: 4 am – 7 pm; tel: 02 – 6267000
  • Ecce Homo – Lithostrotos – 8 am – 5 pm; tel: 02 – 6277292
  • Flagellation Church, Via Dolorosa - April – September: 8 am – 6 pm; October – March: 8 am – 5 pm;
  • Flagellation Convent – Museum: 8 am – 1 pm & 2 pm – 4 pm; closed on Sundays and Mondays; tel. 02 - 627-04-56
  • Most of the monasteries on the way are open daily during the daylight.

 

Carry your Cross

 

There is a possibility of borrowing a wooden cross, which group could carry during the procession. The cross could be picked up at the Monastery of Flagellation (2nd station). The service is free of charge. The owner of the crosses also offers group photographs to capture the great moment of their pilgrimage. For more information and reservation call: 057-444-97-48

 

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Beata Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.


March 28, 2013March 28, 2013  0 comments  Holy Sites

“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.

 

In the gospels, the place of the Skull is described as garden just outside the walls of Jerusalem, which gives us a good impression of the common tradition among the civilizations of the ancient world to place tombs outside the city walls.

 

Holy Sepulchre Travelujah

 

However, due to many changes in the topography of the town, nowadays, we cannot see Golgotha as it used to be on the day of Christ’s death. In 41-42 AD Herod Agrippa enlarged the city walls towards the northwest, so the place of the Skull became incorporated into the proper part of Jerusalem.

 

Temple of Jupiter

 

Early Christians used to gather in the places significant for Jesus’ life. Thus, the area of Golgotha was a site of their worship, probably until 135 AD, when the Roman Emperor Hadrian decided to reconstruct Jerusalem and name it Aelia Capitolina. The Emperor, as an opponent to Christianity, built over Calvary an altar dedicated to Jupiter and over the Tomb an altar for Venus.

 

Constantinian Church

 

According to the writings of historian Eusebius (263 – 339 AD), the Roman temple stood on the site of Golgotha until 326 A.D. This was the year in which Empress Helena, mother of the First Christian Emperor of Rome - Constantine, began her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During her journey she founded multiple churches - one of them was the splendid Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, which was inaugurated in 335.

 

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The architects of Emperor Constantine raised tree blocks of buildings, which position and arrangement are still visible today.

 

The first block, called Anastasis and meaning resurrection, contained the Tomb, which isolated from the mountain, stood in the center of a colonnade of double row of columns supporting a cupola with an oculus. This part till now remains almost intact.

 

The second block occupied the area called the Holy Garden, which on the sides had galleries enclosing a vast open space. In the south corner stood the Rock of Calvary, on which shone a cross of gold. Its principal architectural elements were arcades and galleries. Today of the Constantinian construction all that remains is the long wall to the north.

 

The third block of Martyrion Basilica, formed a great construction erected for liturgical celebrations, which could be entered by atrium from the main street Cardo Maximus of Aelia. Unfortunately, not much remains of that part, so it is impossible to fully reconstruct the plan this building.

 

Persian Invasion

 

The impressive edifice of Constantine was destroyed during the Persian invasion of 614, but immediately after, the church was restored by the Abbot Modestus, however on a reduced plan.

 

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Caliph Hakem

 

In the 11th century, the fanatic Caliph Hakem again brought the Holy Sepulcher into destruction, however its restoration was completed in 1048 by Emperor Constantine Monomachus. And this time only the Anastasis regained its former magnificence and the other Holy Sites were marked just by little oratories.

 

Crusaders

 

In the 12th century, the cupola over Christ’s Tomb and the chapels on Calvary were joined together under one roof, within a magnificent cathedral. The Rotunda (Anastasis) was conserved in great part and furnished with a grand triumphal arch opening on the new church erected on the former garden, used as a choir, which was contained within pillars and columns, provided with a  tribune and surrounded by and ambulatory.

 

The southern courtyard was beautified with a bell tower and a noble entrance to Calvary, called the Chapel of the Franks. The North aisle, called “The Arches of the Virgin” was not changed. According to Tradition, this is where Mary walked to visit her Son’s Tom. Saint Helena’s lower Basilica was built during the Crusader era, as was the Chapel of the Finding of the Holy Cross.

 

The edifice of the Crusaders, although despoiled of its early splendour and disfigured by later additions and deplorable restoration, exists to this day in its main outline.

 

Today

 

Nowadays, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher looks like a puzzle – it is shared on many small chapels, which each of them has its own name.

 

The churche’s façade till now preserves the characteristic of the crusader architecture. It has twin doors, the right of which has been closed in the time of Saladin (end of 12th century), the other has since 1246 been confided to the custody of two Muslim families, one of each keeps the key, while the other has the right of opening.

 

The last structural changes were made after the great fire in 1808. Among other works, the Rotunda over the Tomb was renovated. From the Constantine times, there remain only its external walls. The elegant marble columns were in 1810 enclosed in the massive pillar, which reduced the diameter of the Rotunda from the 33 m to 19,30 m.

 

Holy Sepulchre Travelujah

 

Catholic celebrations for Easter 2013 in the Holy Sepulchre:

 

Good Friday - 29th of March

  • 8.00 The doors of the Basilica open (Note: only for celebration, not for visits and close shortly afterwards.)
  • 8.15 Celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Calvary
  • 11.30 Way of the Cross from the I. Station (Omarije School) to the Holy Sepulchre with the Fransiscan fathers
  • 16.00 Service
  • 20.10 "Funeral" Procession

 

Holy Saturday - 30th of March

  • 7.30 Easter Vigil
  • 15.15 Entrance and solemn procession
  • 18.00 Evening prayer in front of the Holy Tomb
  • 00.30 Pontifical celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours in front of the Holy Tomb with the Custos of the Holy Land

 

Easter Sunday - 31st March

  • 9.30 Entrance of the Latin Patriarch
  • 9.45 Pontifical mass and solemn procession
  • 17.00 Daily procession

 

Easter Monday - 1st April

  • 8.00 Daily solemn mass
  • 17.00 Daily procession

 

If you go:

 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located at St. Helena Street in the Old City of Jerusalem. Phone: (02) 6273314

 

Opening hours: (April-September) Sundays 5.00 am - 8.00 pm, Monday Saturday 5.00 am - 9.00 pm. (October-March) Sundays 4.00 am - 7.00 pm. Monday-Saturday  4.00 am - 7.00 pm

 

 

Sundays

Weekdays

Armenian Orthodox

8.45 am Liturgy twice a month

9.45 am Liturgy (S) twice a month

4.15 pm Procession (W)

5.15 pm Procession (S)

3.30 am Liturgy (W)

4.30 am Liturgy (S)

4.15 pm Procession Fri.& Sat. (W)

5.15 pm Procession Fri.& Sat. (S)

Coptic Orthodox

7.00 am Liturgy (W)

8.00 am Liturgy (S)

6.00 am Liturgy Wed.& Fri. (W)

7.00 am Liturgy Wed. & Fri. (S)

2.30 pm Vespers Sat. (W)

4.00 pm Vespers Sat. (S)

Greek Orthodox

7.00 am Orthros (W)

8.00 am Orthros (S)

11.00 pm Liturgy (W)

12.00 mn Liturgy (S)

Roman Catholic

Summertime

between 5.30 am & 8.00 am

6.30 am High Mass (Latin)

6.00 pm

 

Wintertime

between 4.30 am & 7.00 am

5.30 am High Mass (Latin)

5.00 pm

Summertime

between 5.30 am & 8.00 am

7.30 am High Mass (Latin)

6.00 pm Saturday

 

Wintertime

between 4.30 am & 7.00 am

6.30 am High Mass (Latin)

5.00 pm Saturday

Syrian Orthodox

8.30 am Liturgy (W)

9.30 am Liturgy (S)

 

 

 

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Beata Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010. 


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