Holy Land

  • At the Jordan River, where Jesus was Baptized

    Baptismal site at the Jordan RiverOn October 27, the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land head out to the Jordan Valley, accompanied by hundreds of pilgrims and local Christians, for their annual pilgrimage to Jesus’ baptismal site on the Jordan River.

  • Ein Karem: Home of John the Baptist and Place of the Visitation

    The Church of the Visitation in Ein KaremThe charming village of Ein Karem, situated on the western slopes of Jerusalem, is a popular destination for both pilgrims and locals alike, with its churches and monasteries, romantic cafes and restaurants, and green hills perfect for hiking.

  • Holy Land or Israel?

    IsraelI often hear Catholics talking about going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and I must confess that something lightly irritates me about this terminology. It seems that whenever Catholics talk about visiting the land of the Bible, they almost invariably call it “the Holy Land” and rarely “Israel.”

  • Masada

    Masada

    From Herod’s stronghold heights, a Remnant watched, as Silva’s legion circled them in vain. Across the changing hues of water far below, they looked with memory at Moab’s hills, secure as even Moses could not be, for they were here in Judah’s field.

  • Nazareth

    Nazareth

    No film director’s dream, this Galilean town: an ordinary place. Do you think I put it down? Why, no! It is to ordinary men he came, to share their ordinary lives, that they might be his kith.

  • Old Jaffa

    Old JaffaThe Old City of Jaffa, located on the southern edge of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, was known in ancient times as the gateway to the Land of Israel. With its 3,000 years of history, Old Jaffa is the world’s most ancient port.

  • St. Anne and the Pools of Bethesda

    The Church of St. AnneThe Church of St. Anne is known as the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is situated right next to the pool of Bethesda, a popular healing center in Roman times and the place where Jesus healed a paralytic as recorded in the Gospel of John.

  • St. John in the Desert

    St. John in the DesertTradition identifies the deserted place where John the Baptist grew up as the hermitage of St. John in the Desert, also known as 'Ain el-Habis (spring of the hermit.)  The site is located in the heart of the Judean hills, about 3 km from Ein Karem, St. John’s birthplace, which is itself just 7-8 km west of Jerusalem.

  • The Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion

    The Dormition Abbey on Mount ZionThe Hagia Maria Sion or Dormition Abbey is the Catholic sanctuary in Jerusalem that commemorates the taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life, also known by the Orthodox Churches as the Dormition (falling asleep) of the Theotokos.

  • The Hill Country

    The Visitation in the Hills of Judea

    The slopes and trees of Nazareth are here in Judah’s hills, a sight familiar, as is she whom I have come to see. With Child, as I, we share a single joy, in laughter and in tears; in silent wonder.

  • The Sea of Galilee

    Sea of Galilee

    Flanked by high Golan, Against the Syrian dawn, You mirror Galilean hills, And mingle with the Jordan As it bides with you awhile. Still lapping Caesar’s quay And green Kinneret’s plain, Your waters carry Ephraim again, recalling Simon and his friends.

  • The Western Wall

    The Wailing Wall

    Nigh pristine still, these ancient stones arrest the sons of Abraham, and bid them weep, for they have lost their calling: the house they held aloft is swept away as once its builder’s nation was, and grief is here enshrined.

  • When Neutrality is Immoral: Israel, Hamas, and Christian Moral Equivalence

    Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in JerusalemThe Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem have responded to the October 7 Hamas massacre in Israel and ensuing war in Gaza with posture of moral equivalence, suggesting that both parties in the conflict share equal blame and equivalent moral responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Intellectually, this is an easy path to take. But is it morally right?

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