Church and Monasteries People Love To Travel To
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre; (Holy Sepulchre)
Sacristy guard is Archimandrite TheofilaktosAddress: Church of the HOLY SEPULCHRE
P.O. Box 14367 ; Tel: 6282025 ; JERUSALEM
- Katholiko; (Orthodox Church)
- The shrine of the Holy Sepulchre
- The Stone of Anointing
- Golgotha; (The Calvary)
- The Chapel of the Archangel
- Abraham’s Monastery Pastors are those of the Holy Sepulchre
- Church of St. Jacob
- Monastery of St. Constantine and St. Helena; (seat of the Guards of the Holy Sepulchre – Patriarchal church)
- Monastery of the Great Virgin ; women’s monastery
- St. Charalabos Monastery Prior is Archim. Nektarios
- Monastery of Virgin Seidanagias ; women’s monastery
- St. Spiridon Monastery Prior is Archim. Sofronios
- St. Nikodimos Monastery; (in the basement is the prison of Apostle Peter) caretaker is Arch. Georgios
- St. Jacob’s and St. Anna’s Monastery Prior is Archim. Isidoros
Monastery of the Cross
The monastery took this name. This was because emperor Heraclius stopped here with his army when he was bringing The Cross back in Jerusalem in 629 AD.
From historic and archaeological evidence we know that the first monastery was here in the Byzantine era. In 614 AD it was destroyed from the Persians and rebuild immediately from the Patriarchate. In 1040 Ad it was destroyed again from the Egyptian El Hakem and is repaired from the Ivire monk Prohoros who brought in Jerusalem other Ivire monks. (Ivire is a big monastery in Mount Athos Greece).
Those were times of great prosperity for the monastery
Here lived literates, artists and hagiographers and that is why the spiritual and artistic treasures of the monastery; which is now used also as a museum, are invaluable. Today we see wall paintings and floors from that time and in the main church there are floors from the 6th century.
In the first half of the 18th century the monastery recurred to the jurisdiction of the Greek orthodox Patriarchate being the legal heir of the orthodox Ivire monks.
Behind the altar of the main church is a pilgrimage; that due to a 14th century tradition is the place where Lot planted the tri-synthesis tree that gave the wood for Jesus cross
What another ancient Syrian tradition says
When Lot and his daughters survived from the destruction of Sodom they resorted in a cave. There his daughters intoxicated him and slept with him. Then when he woke up and realized what happened he was very sad and tried to be forgiven. He confessed to patriarch Abraham who gave him three nodal branches; from pine, cedar and cypress. He told Lot to plant them and water them with water from Jordan River. If they grew that would mean that God has forgiven him.
Another version says that the branches were given by an angel
But if someone should ask him for water while he was carrying it from the river he had to give him. The devil constantly disguised as a human and asked him for water and harassed him. But in the end the branches grew and united into a joint tree despite the devil’s envy. When King Solomon saw this tri-synthesis tree ordered to cut it down and use it for the construction of the temple. But the wood didn’t fit anywhere. The reason was because other times it shrunk and others it spread.
So they named it wood of the curse and left it in the yard of the temple; so as the people going by would curse it. Caiafas who hated Jesus ordered to use this wood for the cross so the fluctuation would make Jesus suffer more; and also to embarrass Him. This was because they thought it was cursed. But the wood of shame became the wood of blessing.
Prior is Archim. Theoktistos
- Monastery of St. Simon Prior is Archim. Theodoritos
- John the Baptist’s in Ein Karem
Russian women’s monastery
Ein Karem is a small village integrated with Jerusalem in 1961. In this village John the Baptist was born and this is where the Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elisabeth who greeted her saying “Blessed art thou among women”; (Luke 1:39-40).
In Ein Karem is also a Franciscan monastery of St. John the Baptist situated on the site of the house of John’s parents. Inside is a crypt where John the Baptist was born.
Via Dolorosa or Way of the Cross
However, it is the route from the Prison of Christ; (Praetorium) to the Calvary-Golgotha; (in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). It is the path Jesus walked while bearing the Cross on His back.
In Via Dolorosa are nine stations along the way who commemorate the dramatic events that happened on Jesus last journey.
Monastery of the Prison of Christ (Praetorium)
In Jesus days it was the home of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. This is where they brought Jesus to stand trial; (Matthew 27:1-2, Mark 15:1, John 18:28-29). Here He was scourged, as well as the soldiers made Him a crown of thorns; clothed Him with a purple robe; and put Him in prison. Inside the Praetorium are caves raked on the rocks that served as prison cells. Jesus an Barabbas were imprisoned here.
Prior is Arch. Georgios
- The Pavement
- St. Nicolas Monastery Prior is Archim. Grigorios
- Monastery of St.Theodoron Prior is Archim. Titos
- Monastery of St. George the Victorious; (Hospital) Prioress is nun Filikitati
- Archangels Monastery Prior is Archim. Dimitrios
- John the Baptist’s Monastery Prior is the Archbishop of Tiberias Alexios
- St. Catherine’s Monastery Prior is the Archbishop of Gaza Benedict Tel: 6274938
- St. Vasilios Monastery Metropolitan of Skithopolis Arkadios
- Monastery of Prophet Elijah Abbot and renovator the Metropolitan of Ashqelon ArkadiosAddress: P.O. Box 14366 Tel: 6760966 JERUSALEM
- Jehoshaphat Valley or Kidron valley or Gesthemane
Church of the Tomb of the Virgin or Church of the Assumption; (Gesthemane)
The Church of the Tomb of the Virgin is in the middle of the Kidron Valley. 48 stairs lead the pilgrim down to the tomb. In the middle of the stair on the left is the grave of Joseph ; and on the right the graves of Virgin’s parents Joachim and Anne. Nonetheless, the church has the shape of a cross. It was built in 326 AD from St. Helena. The actual tomb is chambered in the rock and is surrounded with magnificent icons.
However, the 4th Ecumenical Council decided to open the tomb. However, inside were found cloths; in which the dead are wrapped and the Holy Belt that today is at the Holy Monastery of Vatopedion in Mount Athos; (Greece).
The Church of All Nations or Church of Agony
A roman Catholic Church build in 1924. In the interior is a rock; on which, according to tradition Jesus prayed before His arrest; (Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:44).
- Monastery of St. Magdalene; (Russian) Build in 1885 from the Russian emperor Alexander III.
The place of Betrayal
A garden of olive trees dating from the times of Christ. According to tradition here Judas gave Jesus the kiss of betrayal.
The place of Assumption
St. Helena builds a church here later on destroyed by the Persians. Today stands an octagon building with dome inside; which is a rock with the print of Christ’s right foot made during His Assumption; (Luke 24:50-52).
Therefore, it belongs to the Muslims. But the other doctrines have the right to make ceremonies here.
The Church of Viri Galilei
Moreover, the church is on the second peak of the Mount of Olives called Small Galilee. Here is a beautiful church dedicated to the 12 Apostles. It is believed that here Jesus came and met with the Apostles on Sunday afternoon after His resurrection; (Mark 16:7 Matthew 28:16-17).
- Monastery of S. Galilee; in which is the house of the Patriarch
As a matter of fact, it is a place in Small Galilee where Jesus appeared to his disciples; and ate with them broiled fish and honeycomb; (Luke 24:41-42).
In the south is a Church of the Virgin where Mary prayed everyday after Christ’s resurrection. When it was time for her to go to heaven an angel came and offered her a branch of palm tree. After that she prepared her tomb and lied down. Then all the Apostles gathered from all the places of the earth and buried her body.
The Holy Zion
Zion for the Jews has different meanings like Kingdom of Judea; country of Israel; people of Israel; and also spiritual meanings; (Isaiah 2:3). For the Christians New Zion is the Church of Jerusalem.
However, from the early Christian years the hill on the west of Jerusalem was identified as the Zion of the Old Testament. Geographically, this hill must have no association with the actual Zion. This is because nothing was found to strengthen this aspect. David fortified the hill; and erected the scene of the Martyrdom. The burial of David is considered to be here. According to tradition in Zion happened:
The Last Supper
Nevertheless, the trial with the high priests Anna and Caiaphas; the appearance of Jesus to the Apostles after His resurrection; and the Divine Inspiration and the establishment of the first Christian church.
Zion is connected and with other events like The Assumption, the burial of Jacob and the denial of Peter.
On the hill is the attic where the Last Supper and the Divine Inspiration happened; the tomb of David, the Church of Whitsunday and the Church of the denial of Peter.
The Room of the Last Supper
Howbeit, this was the house of Apostle Mark’s mother; and this is where Jesus had the last supper with his disciples on the Passover; (Matthew 26:17-19).
In here stayed the Apostles hiding afraid of the Jews.
Jesus appeared after His resurrection.
Here happened the Divine Inspiration
It took place the sacrament of Eucharist; (Matthew 26:26-29).
And here the first was established after Peter’s preaching.
The first apostolic Council in 49 AD.
The present building is new.
- The Tomb of David
- The home of Saint John the Theolog
Up here on the hill was St. John’s home. Here St. John attended the Virgin according to Jesus’ order; while he was on the Cross “Behold thy mother”; (John 19:27).
Today is a church of the Catholics devoted to Mary’s Assumption
- The Church of the Divine Inspiration
Next to the ruins of an old destroyed church is a monastery devoted to the Divine Inspiration.
- The Church of Denial
Here was Annas house, the father in law to Caiaphas; and here took place the trial of Jesus. In the house yard Simon Peter denied Jesus thrice; (John 18:13-27).
- Monastery of Martha and Mary; (convent) and Church of Lazarus Resurrection over his tombAbbess is nun Eupraxia
Address: GREEK ORTHODOX CONVENT, P.O. Box 19121, BETHANY.
- Monastery of Bethfage Abbot is Archim. DiodorosAddress: GREEK ORTHODOX MONASTERY OF BETHFAGE, P.O. Box 20697, BETHANY
BETHLEHEM Basilica of the Nativity
The basilica was built from St. Helena in 327-333 AD above the cave where Jesus was born. It was a five aisle basilica with 48 red-sandstone Corinthian columns in 4 rows and a big square atrium. The floors had colorful mosaics.
The basilica remained this way for nearly 200 years and in the years of emperor Justinian 532-543 it is re-arranged and takes the shape of a cross. But the emperor wasn’t happy with the architect’s work and ordered his punishment.
In 614 when the Persians took over Palestine they miraculously respected the Basilica of Nativity and didn’t destroy it because when they went in they saw a wall-painting depicting the magi who wore Persian costumes, kneeling and giving presents to Jesus.
The crusaders with emperor Manuel Comninos in 169
They repaired the temple and decorated it. The interior decoration was made by Greek Orthodox painters. Also, in accordance with the style of the east orthodox church. In the interior we see wall mosaics that represent the first seven ecumenical councils; their records and mosaics that depict Jesus ancestors. The roof is made of wood and has great monumental as well as artistic value. During the Muslim conquest the bigger part of the main entrance is build. It was reduced; so that the Turks couldn’t get in riding on their horses. This is why it is called “Door of Humility”. The reason is because in order for someone to enter the temple; he has to bent over.
In 1842 the wooden roof is repaired From the Guards of The Holy Sepulchre. Nonetheless, In 1934 under the floor are discovered preserved portions of the mosaic floor of the first Basilica.
In 1967 the temple’s roof is hit by a fire-bomb during the Israel; Arabian war and is repaired at once. In 1983 with the efforts of Patriarch Diodoros the roof is repaired and all the windows are replaced.
The Altar of Christ’s Birth and the Cave where Jesus was born; (inside the Basilica of Nativity)
Is the actual spot of Jesus birth. It is under the altar of the Basilica of Nativity. It has two entrances one north and one south and to get there someone has to walk down the stairs.
The greater part of the cave is raked on the natural rock and the rest is built. The ground and walls are covered with marble. However, the cave is lit up from the many lamps of all the doctrines that hang in there.
Under the altar is a silver star with the Latin inscription; «here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary»; as well as symbolizes the bright star that was seen at the birth of Christ; (Matthew 2:2).
There is a liturgy everyday by the orthodox. But if the other doctrines want they can liturgy too.
The Holy Crib; (pilgrimage of the Catholics)
Is in the same place in the cave of Nativity to the right going down three stairs. This is where The Virgin placed baby Jesus.
According to the tradition this is where the shepherds kneeled to Jesus and the Magi worshipped him and offered their gifts.
The Cave of the Children
Next to the south entrance of the Basilica; there is stairway leading to the cave of the children filled with the bones; as well as graves of the young children that Herod slaughtered when he got angry that the wise men; (Magi) mocked him and didn’t return to tell him where Jesus was; (Matthew 2:7-18).
However, the children were buried in Bethlehem. When St. Helena visited she sent to Bethlehem’s rabbi a golden textured costume in order to tell her where the graves of the children where. The rabbi accepted her offer and she made the cenotaph.
The Milk Grotto
Near the Basilica of Nativity is the Milk Grotto; which belongs to the Catholics. According to tradition when the Holy Family was leaving for Egypt the Virgin Mary stood here a while and fed Jesus. During the nursing a drop of milk fell on the floor of the cave and immediately the rocks took a chalky look.
St. Catherine’s Church; (Catholic)
Nonetheless, he church was build in 1881 by the Franciscans. From this church every year in Christmas the liturgy is transmitted to all the Catholics in the world.
- Rachel’s Grave
- Holy Bethlehem
- Patriarchal Trustee: Metropolitan of Neapoli Amvrosios
Address P. O, Box 52 & 183 BETHLEHEM
Sacristy: Archim. Parthenios
- Judean Desert
Monastery of Saint Savvas; (Mar Saba)
However, the monastery is in the desert between Bethlehem and the Dead Sea; on the chute of the Kidron Valley. Its history begins 1.500 years ago; when it was founded by St. Savvas in 485 AD. The first church was build from St. Savvas himself in 484. It was dedicated to St. Nicolas. During this time the monastery had 5.000 monks; as well as another 5.000 ascetics in the around area. Here lead ascetic lives important figures of Christianity; like St. John Damascenes, St. Cosmas and others.
There is also a cave; in which St. Savvas lead a hermitage life for 50 years with the companion of a lion. Inside Mar Saba is also the hermitage of St. John Damascenes; as well as the tall tower that emperor Justinian build and was destroyed from an earthquake in 1927. However, it was renovated in 1951 from the archbishop of Nablous Artemios.
At the east of the monastery is a cave; in which runs drinking water. It is said that the water came out when St. Savvas prayed to God; so that the ascetics could use it. The monastery is inaccessible to women.
Monastery of Saint Theodosius the Coenobiarch
Nevertheless, the monastery is located east of Bethlehem. It was founded in 465 AD by St. Theodosius who set the rules for the coenobium life. At his time the monastery knew great days of glory. It had 700 monks and 2.500 ascetics. However, it was a small, very organised community with churches, schools, hostels; as well as laboratories.
From the monastery’s schools graduated great monks; and later patriarchs. After the Persian invasion in 614 the monks dispersed. Few remained there until the 15th century with lots of dangers from the Bedouins invasions. The next 400 years the monastery was abandoned. It’s buildings where used only as asylum from a Muslim tribe.
In 1858 the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate bought the ruins, renovated and re-operated it. The tomb of St. Theodosius is in the monastery.
Inside the coenobium at the south side we find the chapel of the Magi. According to tradition and religion; this is where the three Magi hide on their way back to their country from Bethlehem; (Matthew 2:12).
Churches: Birth of Virgin, St. Nicolas, St. Archangel Gabriel
Abbot Archim. Andrew
Econom. Giakoub Rabia, Nicola Samaan, George Sahouan
Address: GREEK ORTHODOX CONVENT, BEIT JALA.
- Monastery of Saint George Abbot is Archim. Methodios
- Bet Sahur
- Church of the Shepherds
- Church of the Shepherds “Glory to God”
Monastery of Saint George and John the Hozevites
The monastery stands in the desert of Judea, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, inside the Wadi-Kelt stream, scrambled on a slope. On the rough rocks that surround the monastery, the pilgrim can admire the numerous hermitages.
The first convent was founded in the 5th century by Syrian monks. Later on it was converted into a coenabium by St. John the Hozevite whose origin was from Cyprus, before he came to become an ascetic.
Under the ruling of St. George the Hozevite the coenabium knew days of glory. In the 6th as well as the 7th century it had 6.000 monks and ascetics.
With the Persian invasion in 1614
Nonetheless, the monastery had many destructions; as well as most monks were slaughtered or spread around. When the Persians were gone the survived monks went back and buried the dead in a big cave; whose entrance they sealed so that it wouldn’t be violated. Until the 13th century; when it was abandoned it had very few monks.
The present monastery began to be reformed by monk Kallinikos in 1878. It is built on the ruins of the old one. 50 years ago hermit ascetics discovered the cave where the slaughtered monks were buried. This is because of the fragrance smell that was coming from that point.
The main church of the monastery is dedicated to Virgin Mary
A lot of sections of the mosaic floor are dated form the 6th as well as the 12th century. Within a small chapel in the monastery we find the tomb of St. George the Hozevite.
Inside the monastery we find a church; crypt of prophet Elias. According to the tradition prophet Elias lived in that cave for 3 years and six months living a hermits life. It was fed by ravens; (Kings I 17:4-6). Abbot is monk Germanos.
Address: GREEK ORTHODOX CONVENT P.O. Box 19/313 JERUSALEM
Monastery of Saint Gerassimos the Jordanite
As a matter of fact, it lies in the Southeast valley of Jericho. St. Gerassimos led an ascetic life in the desert of Jordan where a lion served him after he healed it. In 455 AD he founded a monastery that combined the anchorite; (hermit) as well as coenobium monasticism. The monastery was destroyed from the Persians in 614. It was re-build in the 9th century. But it was soon deserted.
Moreover, the existing monastery; which is devoted to St. Gerassinos was build in the 19th century over the ruins of another great monastery, known as ‘Monastery of the reeds’; which is considered to be the most ancient in Palestine. It was founded in the 4th century by anchorites of the desert.
In the next two centuries
It had great prosperity. Here became monks great personalities like St. Savvas. The Persians in 614 couldn’t invade it. It was used as an asylum. In the 12th century it was refitted from the emperor Manuel Comnenos. It was abandoned in the 13th century.
However, he main church is devoted to St. Gerassimos, St. Euthimios, St. Zosima and blessed Mary. The interior decoration is dating from the 12th century; as well as fragments of the mosaic floor are dated from the 6th century.
Under the main church is a smaller one dedicated to the Holy Family. According to the medieval tradition this is where Joseph, Mary and Jesus spent the night during their runaway to Egypt.
Address: P.O. Box 35, Tel: 9943038, 050348892 JERICHO
Monastery of John the Baptist in Jordan river
Located in the east side of Jericho; and 1 km from the west bank of Jordan River.
Moreover, its Arab name is Casrou El Yiachoud meaning the castle of Judaeans; also, its Jewish name is Bethabara meaning passage. The reason is because according to the Jewish as well as Christian tradition, from here the Israel tribes passed across the river Jordan to occupy the Promised Land.
St. Helena builds the first monastery in 326 AD. In the 6th century it is famous for its big hostels for pilgrims and “illuminators” namely those who baptized the pilgrims in Jordan river. Traditionally it was build on the site where Jesus was baptized; and over the cave of St. John the Baptist. In 614 AD the Persians slaughtered all the monks. In the 12th century an earthquake destroyed it. It was abandoned. Between 1143 and 1180 AD the emperor Manuel Comninos rebuilds it. But since then we have no historic data.
In the 19th century the monastery comes to the property of the orthodox Jerusalem patriarchate that rebuilds it. Its exterior is like a fortress. Also, because the district belongs to the state of Jordan. It is near the borders access to the monastery is not always possible.
- Church of Prophet Elisha; (Sycamore tree of Zacchaeus) Abbot is Archim. Anthimos
Mount of Temptation Monastery; (Quruntul)
Located on the mountain in the desert where Jesus fasted and meditated for 40 days. It was tempted by the devil; (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, Mark 1:12-13). The monastery took its name from this incident with the devil.
However, the monastery is “hanged” on the chute; as well as rocky mountain Quruntul west of Jericho overlooking the Jordan Valley. The view is magnificent. Underneath lies the valley. You can see the town of Jericho; as well as the Dead Sea.
Nonetheless, Inside the monastery is a chapel with a natural cave indicating the spot where Jesus remained for 40 days. Also, the rock where it is said that Jesus sat. The main church is dedicated to the Annunciation. The present monastery was build by the Greek Patriarchate in 1875 on the site of the older crusader church.
Caretaker: Monk Gerassimos
Address: P.O. Box 21 GREEK ORTHODOX CONVENT, JERICHO
- JAFFA; (Tel-Aviv)
- St. George Church as well as Archangels Church Abbot the Bishop of Jaffa Damascinus
- Russian Convent of Apostle Peter
- Monastery of Saint George the Victorious
- Church of Saint George
- Church of the Transfiguration
- Church of Saint George
- Ein Areq
- Church of Dormition of Virgin Mary
- Church of Dormition of Virgin Mary
- Church of Saint George
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