In God’s Land: Ein Kerem and Emmaus Nicopolis 

3 09 2019
Bright and sunny morning at Saxum vistors center.  Joe and Fr. Gabriel ready for the adventures of the day

Sometimes, to reach heaven above, you have to descend and the valley spread before you shall appear as an ancient wonder—Book of Genesis

This saying was on a plaque was on the wall along uphill path that led to a Church  at the village of Ein Kerem. The Church is believed to be the house where the pregnant blessed Virgin Mary visited her pregnant cousin Elizabeth. The Church of the Visitation as it is called is a magnificent church standing on the spot where Elizabeth, on hearing the greeting of Mary, felt the child leap in her womb. This is the site where tradition tells us that Mary recited her song of praise, the Magnificat: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my savior; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me…Luke 1:46–55

Pictures of outside the Church

Pilgrims, young and old, making the steep uphill climb following the footsteps of Mary

Entrance of the Church

Someone said that this is a statue of the Crusaders

Pictures of inside of the Church of the Visitation

We discovered on the walls facing the Church of the Visitation, the Magnificat of the Virgin Mary, written in many languages including 2 Nigerian languages:f Yoruba and Igbo

The Magnificat of Mary in Yoruba, one of the three main Nigerian languages.

The Magnificat in Igbo Language

Valley of Ein Kerem seen looking from the hill of the Visitation

Mass beside the Church of the Visitation

Having arrived a little late, our group could not celebrate Holy Mass inside the Church of the Visitation since another group was already having Mass there, but the Franciscan caretakers of the Church where kind enough to allow us celebrate outside, right next to the Church of the Visitation. It sort of reminded me of being under the mantle of our Lady

Mary’s Spring

Not far from the Church of the Visitation, is a small spring. This small spring where it said that the Virgin Mary stopped to drink while visiting Elizabeth. The water runs there till today and the village actually takes its name from this spring, since Ein Kerem in Hebrew means “spring of the vineyard” Below are pictures of our visit there on the 3rd of September 2019

Spring of Mary
A beautiful Russian Convent, Ein Kerem seen from the Church of Visitation

Church Where St John de Baptist was born

In this same village, just down the road is the birthplace of St John the Baptist. St John the Baptist is the Lord;s immediate forerunner, sent to prepare his way. He surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the gospel, already from his mother’s womb, he welcomes the coming Christ.

Below are pictures of Church of St. John the Baptist

Church of St. John the Baptist
Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79) printed in different languages on the walls facing the Church of St. John the Baptist. Zechariah was John the baptist father. He saw the arch-Angel Gabriel at the temple who told him that his old wife would bear a son and he must call him John, but he did not believe the angel, so the Angel struck him dumb until it came to pass. Luke 1:5-25
The yellow spot marks the where John the Baptist was born
Touch of birth spot of St. John the Baptist
Still the beautiful Russian orthodox church with golden dome can be seen from the Church of the St. John the Baptist
Russian Convent, Ein Kerem

Emmaus Nicopolis

The last place we visited today was the Emmaus Decapolis, one of the possible sites where our Lord Jesus after his resurrection, walked alongside two of his sad disciple on the road to Emmaus. Below are picture of our visit to Emmaus

Our guide explaining 1st Century Jewish Cemetery lying on the Emmaus route
1st Century Jewish Cemetery
Becoming the unknown disciple walking with Cleopas when our Lord joined them on the road to Emmau



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