Just back from Jerusalem
Amid all the recent international news stories of tension and protests in the Holy Land, I spent some personal time in Jerusalem. After a couple of days meeting friends and business partners, I began my Orthodox Easter ‘retreat’ at the Armenian Catherdral of St James in the Armenian Quarter. The liturgy was chanted by a group of men of all ages as the Bishop and Priests prepared for foot washing. I expected to see the people have their feet washed, but on this occasion it was the Bishop washing the feet of the Priests.
Friday as the the last Friday in Ramadan and while calling at the Golden Walls Hotel for refreshment I met an Imam from Manchester who had a two groups of Muslim Pilgrims at the hotel. ‘Good Friday’ we greeted one another. I took his advice and waited for the 1pm call to prayer to finish before walking round to Lion Gate to enter the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Sadly St Anne’s Church was closed.
I spent Orthodox Good Friday with Natasha from Albina where she and her mother worship and where her mother Grandmother also worshipped. I was a little unsettled about going Russian Orthodox but I learned that many nationalities across the world worship in this tradition and I met Romanians, Croatians and South Africans. I also learned that in the Orthodox tradition it is the burial which venerated rather than the cross.
And then came The Light of Christ and one of the most moving and joyful celebrations I have experienced in the Holy Land. There will still be tension, on occasions, and protest but the Pilgrim is always welcomed and cared for well in the Holy Land, visitors are welcomed from all sides.
Next year in Jerusalem!
Revd Paul of McCabe
As a specialist in the holy Land for over 40 years McCabe has a range of varying itineraries to suit your group. Everything personally inspected and overseen by our team. Do look at a sample of these in the below link and get in touch so that next year you really will be in Jerusalem.