Israel – Holy Land
Land of Israel. The holy land is something exciting. Here are snow-capped mountain peaks, and hot tropical valleys, chocolate hills and bright, sparkling lakes. All this creates a unique atmosphere for religious ideas and the spiritual existence of man. But the main thing is that it was this land that produced and shaped the leading religious ideas and aspirations. It was here that the human person rose to the highest peaks of faith.
This land tells us about events that it has witnessed for centuries, and whose heritage determines our present and future and gives us the foundation of faith in the eternity and unwaveringness of our spirituality.
About heaven and earth
As far back as the 4th century Jerome, Bishop of Bethlehem, wrote to Abbess Paul in Rome: “The whole holy sacrament of our religion is natural on this earth and in this city.” Now, when Rome and Jerusalem continue to converge in earthly affairs, the pilgrimage to the Holy Land is becoming increasingly important, thereby confirming the validity of the words of St. Jerome.
800 years after St. Jerome St. Francis of Assisi got the opportunity to visit the Holy places. His pilgrimage was of crucial historical importance, since it ultimately entrusted the Order of the Franciscans with responsibility for protecting the Holy places of Christianity and satisfying the spiritual and earthly needs of the pilgrims, which continues to be fulfilled to this day. At the same time, over the course of centuries of pilgrimage and spiritualization, one single book – the Bible has been and remains the main guide for all pilgrims up to the present day.
Galilee: Annunciation and Ministry
The steep hills and deep valleys of Galilee have not changed much since biblical times. As before, peasants continue to cultivate the land, artisans – to create their products, fishermen – to throw nets into the cool blue waters of the Sea of Galilee, where, breaking through the green shores, the river Jordan carries its eternal murmuring stream.
Nearby, protected by the surrounding hills, stands the Temple of the Annunciation in Nazareth, inside which is the grotto, the former refuge of Mary and the place of the Annunciation. “And behold, you conceive in the womb, and you will bear His name: Jesus.” In this place, everyone can imagine Jesus, a young preacher, who came out of this land, familiar with each of its paths and with each of its inhabitants. Many places where Jesus preached still exist. Some of them are living, flowering settlements, others are marked by temples and archaeological sites.
We begin our journey from Nazareth and go to Cana of Galilee, where the Franciscan Temple of the Betrothal is located, glorifying the first conversion of water into wine. Then we continue our way to Mount Bliss, with its unforgettable view of the Sea of Galilee from the temple of the Franciscan sisters, and go down to Tabgha, where the Church of Bread and Pisces is located, glorifying the miracle of saturation of many with five breads. Not far from this place, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ sermons in the Galilee. Here the Franciscan church is adjacent to the house of St. Paul and the ruins of the ancient synagogue of Capernaum. In Kursi, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, there is a place for expelling legions of demons from the obsessed. Wherever you look, be it a temple or a place of personal spiritual solitude. Galilee is a unique place of pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Traveling in the Galilee, of course, takes time and organization. For this purpose, a well-developed tourist infrastructure is provided, providing convenient accommodation for every taste and pocket: from a hostel to an upscale hotel, where guests and pilgrims expect care and attention. Nature reserves provide an opportunity to relax in the lap of nature, swimming in the Sea of Galilee or visiting the upper Jordan are an additional source of spiritual exaltation for pilgrims.
Many cities can be compared to precious stones, but Jerusalem is a crown strewn with jewels such as Bethlehem with the famous Temple of the Nativity of Christ. Ein Karem, associated with the name of John the Baptist, Beitantium (Bethany), the birthplace of Mary and Martha, and Beit Pagi (Bithagia), from where the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem began.
In Jerusalem, every name comes to life and is a real place that you can see firsthand: Mount of Olives, Gardens and Grottoes of Gethsemane, places of various events and wonders .., hills and paths, which are an integral part of the eternal landscape of this city.