Our final full day in Israel. We had another delicious breakfast and I ate this Israeli honey on my oatmeal and on my homemade bread. Yum!
Jumping on our bus at 9 o’clock, we drove about thirty minutes to the small village of Ein Karem, a traditionally Palestinian town that, in one day in 1948, was abandoned by the Palestinian Muslims and taken over by the Jews on July 16th of that year. We’ve all come to realize the tragedy that has occurred time and time again throughout the long history of this Middle Easternp part of the world.
Above: The Magnificat is the canticle, or Song of Mary, which Mary recited at the time of the Visitation to Elizabeth.
[Palestinians, Jews and Christians had lived in this land for hundreds and hundreds of years. Recent history has seen such turmoil and sadness. Jordan was a country of a half million people, when, all of a sudden in 1948, about a million plus Palestinians immigrated there from towns like Ein Karem. Currently, because of the ongoing civil war in Syria, Jordan has something over 2 million displaced, homeless Syrians living in refugee camps in the Jordanian desert. The economic stability of the country is in extreme jeopardy due to the enormous migration of refugees.]
Anyway, Ein Karem, an ancient village, is located in the hilly countryside of the Southwest Jerusalem District. [See photos above]. It was the home of of Mary’s Aunt Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah. When Mary knew she was to become the Mother of the Lord, she wanted to talk with someone she could trust, so she traveled to Judea where she found her elderly aunt was also with child. Elizabeth was to become the Mother of John the Baptist; he would come a few months before Jesus as prophesied in the Old Testament.
When we first arrived we went to the Church of Saint John the Baptist, built at the site where John the Baptist is believed to have been born.
Plaque to John the Baptist
Confessional at rear of church
Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist
Mosaic floor in church
From the Church of Saint John the Baptist we walked up a steep cobblestone pathway, probably about a quarter of a mile - up, up, up to the Church of the Visitation where Father Chris celebrated our last Mass on this pilgrimage.
Oh, what a beautiful church - my favorite of all I’ve visited on this adventure. Photos cannot do it justice. It has magnificent mosaic floors, murals and frescos, statuary, gardens, magnificent hand- embroidered linens. It is a gem cared for by the Franciscan priests since it’s inception
The steep path up to the Church
Statue depicting the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
A beautiful well
The Canticle of Mary
The ambo / pulpit
Painting over the altar depicting a Franciscan father presenting a replica of the church to Mary the Queen of Heaven
The architect of the church, Antonio Barluzzi, had himself rendered in one of the many murals that line the side walls of the church.
The murals are fabulous
The mosaics are beyond words
Just one window allowing filtered sunlight within.
As I’m still trying to figure all the components of posting on my iPhone, I suggest you go to YouTube and search for “Church of the Visitation, Ein Karem, Israel” for a video treat. It is truly wonderful.