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Background on Burq'in and the Church of St. George
The village of Burq'in is situated approximately three kilometers west of Jenin. The small historic Palestinian town has about 7,400 residents, most of them Muslim. The hilly agricultural village is home to the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, also known as the Church of the 10 Lepers and is considered the fourth or fifth oldest church and one of the holiest sites to Christianity in the world.
According to Christian tradition, Jesus came through Burq'in on his way to Jerusalem from Nazareth when he heard cries coming from within the village. The pleas for help were coming from 10 lepers who were quarantined in an underground cave, a common practice for people afflicted with this disease. According to Luke 17:11-19 Jesus encountered them, passed his hand on their faces and they were immediately healed.
Burq'in In the Bible
"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!' When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed."
Because of this miracle, the church, which was built by Saint Helena in the 4th Century A.D., became a station for Christian pilgrims en route to Jerusalem and Nazareth. According to the local guardian of the church, who led us around the newly renovated holy site, the church is also a place of worship for the village's Christian Greek Orthodox community and holds a weekly mass. Groups are welcome to visit the newly renovated church and to hold mass there. Access can be arranged by advanced notice.
How to get to Burq'in
There are no buses that will take you from Israel to the Samaria region of the West Bank.Traveling to the Samaria region which is part of the Palestinian Territories and is situated in Area C (area currently designated as under Palestinian control) is not simple, but is certainly possible. Some of the ways that one can travel are listed below:
1. Hiring a car from an East Jerusalem car rental company that insures for travel in the Palestinian Territories
2. Hire an Arab taxi from Nazareth which can then take you to the Jalameye checkpoint and can cross over to the Palestinian Territories and stay with you for the day.
3. Hire an Israeli Arab tour guide that is licensed in both Israel and the West Bank and can escort you to the Samaria region of the West Bank for the day.
4. Take a Jewish cab to the checkpoint and cross over by foot and be met on the other side by a Palestinian tour guide with a vehicle who can then escort you around the region for the day.
It is highly recommended that you travel with someone who knows their way around the region. The roads are not as well marked. Always act responsibly and make sure you ascertain the current security situation prior to traveling inside the territories.
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