Holy Sites

A visit to the Dir Hag’ala site and the site of the baptism

It is one of the oldest monasteries in the world, drawing tens of thousands of visitors from all corners of the globe, every year, who come to see its narrow rooms, steep alleyways and multitude of artistic treasures hidden inside. So, Dir Hag’ala, who are you, really?

The monastery was established in the fifth century CE by the father of the church, Hieronymus, and the monk, Gerasimus. From then and until today, the monastery was destroyed many times, by Muslim or Persian invaders, or from earthquakes. The monastery has been renovated, and many of the original structures, including floorings, have been kept.

A lavishly adorned mosaic, chiseled stones, as well as mementos and personal items belonging to ancient monks.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

In 1946, near a desolate spot in the Judean desert known as Khirbet Qumran, a Bedouin teenager crawled into a cave and discovered multiple clay jars that he hoped were filled with treasure. He was disappointed when what he found inside was just some old scrolls

In 1946, near a desolate spot in the Judean desert known as Khirbet Qumran, a Bedouin teenager crawled into a cave and discovered multiple clay jars that he hoped were filled with treasure. He was disappointed when what he found inside was just some old scrolls. These old scrolls they turned out to be more valuable than treasure though, and this teenage boy's accidental discovery exploded into an 11-year search that produced almost 900 different manuscripts. He didn’t find the treasure teenage boy dreams of, but he did make archaeological history.

Jericho

Jericho is a big oasis in a very arid area. The City served as a place of settlement over the years thanks to the nearby springs. The city draws its water from two sources: from the fountain of Elisha (Ein a-Sultan) and from a spring called Na'aran, which is about 3 km northwest of the spring Elisha.

According to a an accepted hypothesis, the city of Jericho is named after the moon cult rituals that was practiced there.

St. John in the Desert

John the Baptist performed his baptismal ministry at the hermitage of St. John in the Desert, also known as 'Ain el-Habis (spring of the hermit)

John the Baptist is especially remembered for his baptismal ministry on the shores of the Jordan River.  But the Gospel of Luke tells us that John first “grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”  (Luke 1:80)

At the Jordan River, where Jesus was Baptized

On October 27, the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, accompanied by hundreds of faithful Christians, will make their annual pilgrimage to Jesus’ baptismal site

On October 27, the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land will head out to the Jordan Valley, accompanied by hundreds of pilgrims and local Christians, for their annual pilgrimage to Jesus’ baptismal site on the Jordan River.  

St. Anne and the Pools of Bethesda

The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, near what is believed to have been the home of the Virgin Mary’s parents, is associated with miracles

September 8 is known in Catholic tradition as the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While the canonical Gospels are silent about her origins, we know about her parents Joachim and Anne, her birth and childhood from the second century Protoevangelium of James. Early Christian tradition places the home of Joachim and Anne next to a double pool that was a popular healing center - the pool of Bethesda, known to us from the Gospel of John:

The Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion

On August 15, Catholics around the world celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, commemorating the taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life. The feast is known by the Orthodox Churches as the Dormition of the Theotokos