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April 9, 2012April 9, 2012  1 comments  Events

On April 14 the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem will host its annual Arabic-language Easter worship service with simultaneous translation into Hebrew. Richard Meryon, director of the Garden Tomb, told Travelujah that the Arabic-Hebrew event has become "the most spiritually significant service here - can there be a more important signal to the World than that Palestinian and Israelis believers meet and worship together?"


Meryon said the service attracts 500-600 Israeli and Palestinian believers, and that number is growing as more and more local Christians become aware of the safe haven and the platform for reconciliation that the Garden Tomb provides.


The Garden Tomb


"The Garden Tomb is endeavoring to be a neutral venue for both Israelis and Palestinians to feel safe to worship together - Easter is not the only such event here each year but of course the pinnacle," Meryon told Travelujah.


One would think that with the current political tensions, any gathering of Palestinians and Israelis - even under the Eastern banner - would be a powder keg, but Meryon said there has yet to be a problem and the Israeli and Palestinian believers mingle as brothers.


The Garden Tomb


Meryon was at pains to stress the potential for positive impact on the entire Holy Land represented by this particular service, which, after all, is a celebration of the Prince of Peace and his victory over death.


"Most of our more than 260,000 visitors each year are tourists from 60+ countries, but these joined-up events for local believers are perhaps the most important thing the Garden Tomb can do - providing a bridge for the two believing communities and such a strong signal for the world to bring the best possible hope for peace in the land of the Holy One," Meryon explained.


The Garden Tomb will host a series of worship events and resurrection services starting on Good Friday (April 6) and culminating with the Arabic-Hebrew service on Easter Saturday (April 14). Other services will be conducted in English, French and Scandinavian languages.


For further information on the Garden Tomb please visit their website at http://www.gardentomb.org


If you go:


The Garden Tomb is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am through 12 pm and from 2 pm through 5 pm. Sundays the site is closed.

Group visits are by reservation only and must be arranged in advance.

There is no entrance fee to the site, however, a donation of $5 per person is suggested.


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Ryan Jones writes for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan  and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


April 10, 2013April 10, 2013  0 comments  Easter

Huddled in a hidden alley in East Jerusalem, hundreds of Christians from all corners of the world waited quietly in the crisp pre-dawn air to enter the idyllic Garden Tomb. They had come to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, and they would not remain quiet for long.


Having attended the Garden Tomb's long-running "SonRise Service" in the past, though admittedly not for a number of years, it was striking how much it has changed. While still a solemn and reverent gathering, there was an undeniable freshness, even a youthfulness that lent itself to a truly celebratory atmosphere.

The setting couldn't have been any more perfect. Garden Tomb Director Richard Meryon reiterated something he has said several times in the past: "Some believe this to be the authentic tomb of Christ. But the truth is that it doesn't matter, because the tomb is empty, and that is what we are here to celebrate." Meryon has stressed before that whether or not it be the authentic location, the Garden Tomb serves as a visual teaching tool to bring worshipers closer to the reality of what Christ did for them.

garden tomb service
As the sun crested the nearby Mount of Olives, the Christians filling every corner of the Garden Tomb's peaceful sanctuary sang out "Christ is risen."

And it wasn't only the residents of the neighboring streets that heard this high praise. Thanks to the efforts of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), this year's SonRise Service was broadcast around the world.

Why do Christians make such a celebration of this day, some of them traveling thousands of miles to do so?

In delivering the morning's sermon, Pastor Wayne Hilsden of King of King's Assembly in Jerusalem touched on that topic.

garden tomb service

"We know the cross was necessary to pay for our sins, but what role did the resurrection play," asked Hilsden, before answering his own question, "If Christ had not been raised, we would have no guarantee that God had accepted the payment."

Keeping with the light and happy tone that characterized the service, Hilsden added, "The resurrection is the best news that ever came out of a graveyard."

Attending the Garden Tomb's SonRise service has always been a worthy pursuit for any Christian visiting the Holy Land. But it was clear that Meryon, Hilsden and all those involved were determined to make the event increasingly relevant for a new generation of believers. It is this writer's recommendation that the younger generations of believers heed the invitation.


If you go:

The Garden Tomb is open Monday thru Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Closed on Sundays

May 4th, 2013 - Orthodox Resurrection Celebration

1615-1745 -Resurrection Service
in Arabic, simultaneous translation into Hebrew)

Doors open 1600 and close 1800

Reservations are required for groups




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