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Holy Sites

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EASTER WEEK IN JERUSALEM

Easter is a wonderful time to visit Israel. The weather is very pleasant with cool mornings and warm days. The color green is prominent everywhere, flowers bloom even in the Negev desert; and the Dan, Banias and Jordan streams are full with water from thawing snows in Mount Hermon. This is also a captivating time for religion. Often, the Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated concurrently with the Christian week of Passion. With all these, Jerusalem becomes a major, significant center of spirituality and faith.

A visit to the Dir Hag’ala site and the site of the baptism

The monastery was established in the fifth century CE by the father of the church, Hieronymus, and the monk, Gerasimus. From then and until today, the monastery was destroyed many times, by Muslim or Persian invaders, or from earthquakes. The monastery has been renovated, and many of the original structures, including floorings, have been kept.

A lavishly adorned mosaic, chiseled stones, as well as mementos and personal items belonging to ancient monks.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

In 1946, near a desolate spot in the Judean desert known as Khirbet Qumran, a Bedouin teenager crawled into a cave and discovered multiple clay jars that he hoped were filled with treasure. He was disappointed when what he found inside was just some old scrolls. These old scrolls they turned out to be more valuable than treasure though, and this teenage boy's accidental discovery exploded into an 11-year search that produced almost 900 different manuscripts. He didn’t find the treasure teenage boy dreams of, but he did make archaeological history.

Jericho

Jericho is a big oasis in a very arid area. The City served as a place of settlement over the years thanks to the nearby springs. The city draws its water from two sources: from the fountain of Elisha (Ein a-Sultan) and from a spring called Na'aran, which is about 3 km northwest of the spring Elisha.

According to a an accepted hypothesis, the city of Jericho is named after the moon cult rituals that was practiced there.

St. John in the Desert

John the Baptist is especially remembered for his baptismal ministry on the shores of the Jordan River.  But the Gospel of Luke tells us that John first “grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”  (Luke 1:80)

St. Anne and the Pools of Bethesda

September 8 is known in Catholic tradition as the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While the canonical Gospels are silent about her origins, we know about her parents Joachim and Anne, her birth and childhood from the second century Protoevangelium of James. Early Christian tradition places the home of Joachim and Anne next to a double pool that was a popular healing center - the pool of Bethesda, known to us from the Gospel of John: