ISRAEL - Holy Land - Pilgrimage
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Independence Day
CHURCH OF ST. ANNA
LION'S GATE
CONDEMNATION CHAPEL
VIA DELOROSA
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After lunch we again boarded our bus and went towards the LION'S GATE. On the
way there we passed lines of people marching around Jerusalem, celebrating
Independence Day. We also passed several Gates including
DAMASCUS GATE
which looked like a very busy market place and we would have loved to browse
through (well maybe just some of us, oh, well… I would…), but we passed it, as we
passed
HEROD'S GATE and ended up where we had planned: in front of the Lion's
Gate which is the closest to
VIA DELOROSA.
CELEBRATING INDEPENDENCE DAY
CHURCH OF ST. ANNA
Bible says: "Now there
is in Jerusalem near the
Sheep Gate a pool,
which in Aramaic is
called Bethesda and
which is surrounded by
five covered
colonnades...
(JOHN 5:2)
Right next to the church are the ruins of
BETHESDA POOL, believed to be the site where
Jesus healed a paralytic. There are also the ruins
of a Roman temple to the god of medicine and
the remains of a Byzantine church built over the
temple.
First we visited the CHURCH OF ST. ANNA which was one
of my favorite churches in Jerusalem. It is one of the few
Crusader churches that was not destroyed by Mamelukes
who captured the Holy Land in the twelfth century.
The Church is surrounded by a
beautiful garden that you cross
walking toward the entrance. I
loved the arches, the color of
natural stone, no over the top
decorations, and wonderful
acoustics.
BETHESDA POOL
LION'S GATE
Bible says:
"And the soldiers led
him away within the
court, which is the
Praetorium; and they
call together the whole
band."
(Mark 15: 16)
Close by is the location of the ANTONIA FORTRESS. We climbed underground
where we checked out several historical excavations and a huge water cistern. We
gathered by what remains of the floor, where Jesus would have most likely walked
and perhaps was mocked and scourged, and listened to the description of the
events.
Via Delorosa ("Way of the Cross") - the route that Jesus took between his
condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial - is one of the most important
places to visit for a Christian visiting Jerusalem. The route changed several times
during history which is of little importance since its meaning is in the reflections on
the event itself. We started the route at the
CONDEMNATION CHAPEL and followed
the stations along Via Delorosa, through the Muslim quarter.
Floor, where Jesus would have most likely
walked
VIA DELOROSA
It is noisy and crowded just like in Jesus'
times would have been. The stations are
numbered but it is hard to see them and
some go off the route. At one of them we
walked into a court yard and almost
climbed on a roof to find it. Since you are
walking through the bazaar, where so
many things are constantly happening,
you have a hard time concentrating
(those who like shopping have an
especially difficult time - sort of a
penance I guess - did mine for three
years back and three years ahead,… and
yes, it was that hard!).
It is not a quiet place of meditation but yet there are group after group taking this way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
When we arrived there we said the last five stations and had an hour or two off. Just standing outside of this church gives you
never ending "entertainment". There are so many different types of people in the most interesting garments. We took
numerous photos of the KNIGHTS AND DAMES OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER from England, that were getting ready to enter the
church, there were various kinds of priests and pilgrims - never ending opportunity for staring and taking photos. After a while
though we could not resist the inviting sounds of merchants and shoppers, coming from all directions, and soon you would find
our faithful pilgrims, in various places of the market, turned into "hard core" hagglers.