Christian sites

Sunday, 02 October 2011 06:39



Since the beginning of Christianity every year thousands of pilgrims visit the Holy Land and follow in the footsteps of Christ in East Jerusalem or Bethlehem. But the Church of the Holy Family in Ramallah, and the oak of Mamre in Hebron are considered important stages in the Christian religion.

Bethany (al-Azarieh) - Jerusalem District


Less than three kilometers east of Jerusalem, on the eastern slope of Mount of Olives, Bethany is. It was the hometown of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, both of which Jesus loved. Bethany is the place of the great miracle, because there was Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The pilgrimage includes a new, on the ruins of two Byzantine and medieval ecclesiastical building erected Lazarus Church with the grave of Lazarus and a rock grotto.



Church Burqin - Jenin district


According to tradition, Jesus should have healed in the three kilometers from Jenin village Burqin lepers. Even today the ruins of a Byzantine church and a cave can be visited. According to Christian tradition, the Church of St. George the third oldest church in the world. The church was restored several times Burqin and will continue to be used by the Greek Orthodox community of the village.


Church of the Nativity Bethlehem District


The Nativity Church of Bethlehem is the heart and also the oldest church in the Holy Land used. On the three sides of the church, there are the huge monastic building: In the north of the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine, in the southeast, the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian monastery in the southwest.

The original church was constructed under the patronage of Constantine’s mother, Helena, who came on a pilgrimage to Palestine in 325 AD to investigate the sites associated with the life of Jesus Christ which had been revered since the early days of Christianity. Helena chose to the Grotto of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, as the site for the huge basilica which was completed  in 339 AD.

Inside the Church, two sets of stairs on either side of the altar lead down into the Grotto, the site where Jesus was born. A silver star embedded in white marble and bearing the Latin inscription “Here of the Virgin Mary Christ was born” marks the site.


Holy Sepulchre - Jerusalem District

The Holy Sepulchre Church (Church of the Resurrection) in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of East Jerusalem is the holiest site in Christianity, because there Jesus was crucified, buried and rose again. The present building was built in the 12th Century and the last five Stations of the Cross.

Monastery of St. Saba - Bethlehem District


About six miles from the shepherd's field, along a winding road, is the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Saba. Are built into a cliff it from there with a spectacular unobstructed view of the gorge of the Kidron Valley. The founder of the monastery of St. Saba, came in fifth Century from Cappadocia. Legends say that St.Saba have lived there for many years together with a lion in a cave. St. Saba died in 532 AD at 94 years and his remains are still in the church of the monastery to find. Today, living in the monastery with its 110 rooms is only a few monks.


Monastery of Temptation - Jericho District

From the summit of Mount of Temptation, the 350 meters above sea level, you get a beautiful view over the Jordan Valley. Up there, Jesus spent forty days and nights fasting and meditating. A monastery in the 6th Century built over a cave in which Jesus is to have halted. The 30 to 40 caves on the eastern side of the mountain are inhabited since the earliest years of Christianity by monks and hermits

Mount of Olives - Jerusalem District


The Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem and offers a magnificent view over the Old City in East Jerusalem and the Kidron Valley. The Mount of Olives is the most important events in Jesus life today. From there he went to Heaven (Chapel of the Ascension) that predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, taught his disciples the "Our Father" and wept over Jerusalem on his way into town on Palm Sunday (Church of Dominus Flevit). The Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, with its distinctive onion domes and peaks is also on the Mount of Olives.


Oak of Mamre - Hebron


The oak of Mamre, also called the oak Ibrahim (Abraham), is two kilometers west of Hebron, and marks the spot where Ibrahim pitched his tent. Appeared to him in the night three angels who annouced that his wife Sarah would bear him a son. The age of the oak tree is estimated to be 5,000 years. Today the site belongs to a Russian Orthodox monastery.


Qumran - Jericho District

Qumran, which is about 20 kilometers south of Jericho, is the site of the Monastery of
Essenes, where more than 2.000 Dead Sea scrolls were founded by an Arab shepherd in the late 1940s. The Dead Sea Scrolls were the most important discoveries of the 20th Century.

Rachel's grave - Bethlehem District


The small building marked the grave of Rachel, wife of Jacob, and is sacred to all three monotheistic religions. This site and Belal Mosque built during the Ottoman era and are located on the Jerusalem-Hebron road, near the northern entrance to Bethlehem.


Sebastia - Nablus District


The ancient royal city of Sebastia is the largest archaeological site in Palestine. Located 12 kilometers northwest of Nablus, the ruins of ancient Sebastia are on a hill and give a clear view of the present village of Sebastia. The first residents have settled there during the Copper Age, 4,000 BC. Sebastia was politically insignificant until King Omari built his royal city there. The Bible says that the head of John the Baptist was found in Sebastia. A Crusader church was later built in honor of him, which later became a mosque.

The ruins seen today are Roman tombs, a Hellenistic tower, a Severan Basilica and Herodian gate towers.


St. Theodosius Monastery - Bethlehem District


The monastery of St. Theodosius, was founded in 476 AD and is located 12 kilometers east of Bethlehem. This monastery was destroyed during the Persian invasion, and later built by the Greek Orthodox Church on the ruins of a Crusader church. A white cave marks the gravesite of St. Theodosius.The tradition says that the wise men have made stop, when God appeared to them in a dream and warned against any return to Herod. Today, living in the monastery, about a dozen monks.


The Church of St. Prophyrus


The Church of St. Prophyrus came in 4th Century and is situated in the old city of Gaza. In this church holy Porphyry died and there was also his final resting place (420 AD).. Today, the church's prayer house of the Greek Orthodox community.



© 2011 Embassy of the State of Palestine