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More to see in Jerusalem

Day 4

Day 4 - 8th September 2014

Morning: Jerusalem - Garden Tomb, Via Dolorosa, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall

Afternoon: Ein Karem - Church of John the Baptist and Church of Visitation

To day we were in Jerusalem again and started with the Garden Tomb.
The main advocate of this site was a British army officer and administrator, Major-General Charles Gordon, who visited Jerusalem in 1882-83. Though he had no academic education in history or archaeology, a dream assisted him to identify the cliff as the place where Jesus was crucified. For years the site was known as “Gordon’s Calvary”, Calvary being Latin for Golgotha.
The Garden Tomb is certainly outside the walls of the Old City. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, however, is inside the walls — but it was outside until about a decade after the crucifixion of Christ, when the so-called third north wall was built by Herod Agrippa I.
All the tombs in the Garden Tomb area date from 7 to 9 centuries BC — the time of Jeremiah or Isaiah, rather than Jesus. But the tombs within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were new in the time of Jesus. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre also has longstanding tradition in its favour, indicating that it stands over the sites that the early Christian community venerated as the places where Christ died, was buried and rose again. The Garden Tomb site, on the other hand, was used by Christian Crusaders as a stable.
Despite its lack of authenticity, the Garden Tomb has an aura of calmness that encourages meditation.

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Our group held a prayer service here.
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This is a wine press.

The picture below is the Damascus Gate. In Jesus' time this was a very busy place because all the caravans from east and west met here to exchange their merchandise. The thin slots like openings in the upper part of the walls are watch towers.
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Via Dolorosa / The way of the Cross

The path through the narrow alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem commemorates tortured Jesus bearing his cross. Along the route are 14 Stations of the Cross, 9 along the narrow streets and 5 inside the Church of Holy Sepulcher.

I: Jesus is condemned to deathChurch of Condemnation
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II: Jesus carries his cross
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theEcce Homo Arch, reaching across the Via Dolorosa. It is named after the famous phrase (“Behold the Man” in Latin) spoken by Pilate when he showed the scourged Jesus to the crowd (John 19:5). But the arch was built after Jesus stood before Pilate.
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III: Jesus falls the first time
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IV: Jesus meets his Mother
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V: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross

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VI: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
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VII: Jesus falls the second time
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VIII: Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem

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On the wall of a Greek Orthodox monastery, beneath the number marker is a carved stone set at eye level. It is distinguished by a Latin cross flanked by the Greek letters IC XC NI KA (meaning “Jesus Christ conquers”).

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The Way of the Cross winds through narrow alleys and bazzars. There are even motorcycles ...........

IX: Jesus falls the third time
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The five Stations inside the church are not specifically marked.

X: Jesus is stripped of his garments
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XI: Jesus is nailed to the cross
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XII: Jesus dies on the cross

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Under the alter of Jesus' crucifixion there is hole on the floor where you can put your hand and touch the rock on which the Holy Cross stood.

XIII: Jesus is taken down from the cross
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This is the spot where it is said the body of Jesus was laid to prepare for the burial

XIV: Jesus is laid in the tomb
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No photographs are allowed inside the Holy Sepulcher.

This pedestal is said to contain a piece of the rolling stone that covered the Tomb of Jesus
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This is the entrance to the Holy Sepulcher
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Church of the Holy Sepulchre
This is the steelframe enclosing the Holy Sepulcher
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The entrance to the Holy Sepulcher from a distance

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem covers what Christians believe is the site of the most important event in human history: The place where Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
But the pilgrim who looks for the hill of Calvary and a tomb cut out of rock in a garden nearby will be disappointed.
• Inside, there is a bewildering conglomeration of 30-plus chapels and worship spaces. These are encrusted with the devotional ornamentation of several Christian rites.
This sprawling Church of the Holy Sepulchre displays a mish-mash of architectural styles. It bears the scars of fires and earthquakes, deliberate destruction and reconstruction down the centuries. It is often gloomy and usually thronging with noisy visitors.
Yet it remains a living place of worship. Its ancient stones are steeped in prayer, hymns and liturgies. It bustles daily with fervent rounds of incensing and processions.
This is the pre-eminent shrine for Christians, who consider it the holiest place on earth. And it attracts pilgrims by the thousand, all drawn to pay homage to their Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Making sense of the church
Of all the Christian holy places, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is probably themost difficult for pilgrims to come to terms with.
7. A silver disc beneath the Greek altar marks the place where it is believed the cross stood. The limestone rock of Calvary may be touched through a round hole in the disc. On the right, under glass, can be seen a fissure in the rock. Some believe this was caused by the earthquake at the time Christ died. Others suggest that the rock of Calvary was left standing by quarrymen because it was cracked.
10. On the wall behind the stone is a Greek mosaic depicting (from right to left) Christ being taken down from the cross, his body being prepared for burial, and his body being taken to the tomb.
11. Continuing away from Calvary, the Rotunda of the church opens up on the right, surrounded by massive pillars and surmounted by a huge dome. Its outer walls date back to the emperor Constantine’s original basilica built in the 4th century. The dome is decorated with a starburst of tongues of light, with 12 rays representing the apostles.
12. In the centre is a stone edicule (“little house”), its entrance flanked by rows of huge candles. This is the Tomb of Christ, the Fourteenth Station of the Cross. This stone monument, held together by a steel frame, encloses the tomb (sepulchre) where it is believed Jesus Christ lay buried for three days — and where he rose from the dead. A high-tech photogrammetric survey late in the 20th century showed that the present edicule contains the remains of three previous structures, each encasing the previous one, like a set of Russian dolls.
13. At busy times, Greek Orthodox priests control admission. Inside there are two chambers. In the outer one, known as the Chapel of the Angel, stands a pedestal containing what is believed to be a piece of the rolling stone used to close the tomb.
14. A very low doorway leads to the tomb chamber, lined with marble and hung with holy pictures. On the right, a marble slab covers the rock bench on which the body of Jesus lay. It is this slab which is venerated by pilgrims, who customarily place religious objects and souvenirs on it.
The slab was deliberately split by order of the Franciscan custos (guardian) of the Holy Land in 1555, lest Ottoman Turks should steal such a fine piece of marble.

Three denominations share ownership
Ownership of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is shared between the GreekOrthodox, Catholics (known in the Holy Land as Latins) and Armenian Orthodox.

In Scripture:

The crucifixion: Matthew 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16-37

The burial of Jesus: Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42

The Resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10

Having completed the Via Dolorosa and the Church of The Holy Sepulchre we proceeded to visit the Western Wall (earlier they called it the Wailing Wall)

Western Wall

Judaism’s holiest place is the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Part of the retaining wall erected by Herod the Great in 20 BC to support the vast plaza on which he rebuilt the Temple, it is venerated as the sole remnant of the Temple.
In the exposed part of the Western Wall today, the seven lowest layers of stones are from Herod’s construction. Most of these stones weigh between two and eight tons.
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Petitions with their grievances, request and prayers are stuffed between these huge blocks of limestone.
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It is also the place where Jews down the ages have expressed their grief over the destruction of the Temple, their anguish giving the wall another name — the Wailing Wall.

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But the wall is also a place for celebrations, especially of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (coming-of-age ceremonies for Jewish sons and daughters).
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There are eight gates to the walled city of Old Jerusalem. We passed through Herod's, Lion's and this Dung Gate and passed by the Damascus and Jaffa gates.
Dung Gate and Zedekiah's cave
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We had our lunch at a restaurant and proceeded to Ein Karem where the churches of John the BAfternoon:aptist and Visitation are situated.

Ein Karem - Church of John the Baptist and Church of Visitation

Christian tradition places the birth of John the Baptist — who announced the coming of Jesus Christ, his cousin — in the picturesque village of Ein Karem 7.5km south-west of Jerusalem.

Luke’s Gospel tells of the circumstances of John’s birth (1:5-24, 39-66).

The angel Gabriel appeared to the elderly priest Zechariah while he was serving in the Temple and told him that his wife Elizabeth was to bear a son. Zechariah was sceptical, so he was struck dumb and remained so until the baby John was born.

In the meantime, Gabriel appeared to the teenage Virgin Mary in Nazareth, telling her that she was to become the mother of Jesus. As proof, he revealed that Mary’s elderly cousin Elizabeth was already six months’ pregnant.

Two sites for two houses
The two main sites in the “Judean town” of Ein Karem are linked to the understanding that Zechariah and Elizabeth had two houses in Ein Karem (also known as Ain Karim, Ain Karem, ’Ayn Karim and En Kerem).

Their usual residence was in the valley. But a cooler summer house, high on a hillside, allowed them to escape the heat and humidity.

The summer house is believed to be where the pregnant Elizabeth “remained in seclusion for five months” (Luke 1:24) and where Mary visited her.

The house in the valley is where John the Baptist was born. Here, also, old Zechariah finally regained his power of speech after his son was born, when he obediently wrote on a writing tablet that the baby’s name was to be John.

A huge stone set in a niche is known as the Stone of Hiding. According to an ancient tradition, the stone opened to provide a hiding place for the baby John during Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents — an event depicted in a painting on the wall.
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The high altar is dedicated to St John. To the right is Elizabeth’s altar. To the left are steps leading down to a natural grotto — identified as John’s birthplace and believed to be part of his parents’ home.
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— identified as John’s birthplace and believed to be part of his parents’ home.
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Mary’s Spring
In a valley on the south of the village is a fresh-water spring known as Mary’s Spring or the Fountain of the Virgin. Tradition has it that Mary quenched her thirst from this spring before ascending the hill to meet Elizabeth.
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Church of the Visitation

Completed in 1955 to a design by Antonio Barluzzi, the artistically decorated Church of the Visitation is considered one of the most beautiful of all the Gospel sites in the Holy Land.
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A huge stone set in a niche is known as the Stone of Hiding. According to an ancient tradition, the stone opened to provide a hiding place for the baby John during Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents — an event depicted in a painting on the wall.
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............... is known as the Stone of Hiding
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In the lower chapel, a vaulted passage leads to an old well. An ancient tradition asserts that a spring joyfully burst out of the rock here when Mary greeted Elizabeth.
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This is believed to be the site of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s summer house, where Mary came to visit her cousin. On the wall opposite the church, ceramic plaques reproduce Mary’s canticle of praise, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) in some 50 languages including Sinhala.
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Mary then “went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country” — a distance of around 120km — “where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb.” (Luke 1:39-41)

Inside the church of Visitation
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Bronze statue of Mary and Elizabeth
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In the vicinity is a Russian Orthodox Church
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Posted by MILROYW 08:55

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