RELIGION

Churches And Monasteries Of The Holy Land Show The Richness Of Early Christian History

A new book of Christian sacred sites offers "inspiring models of cohabitation," say the authors.

With Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, the stage was set for Christianity. The faith has reached all corners of the globe, but its origin story traces back to where is now Israel and adjacent Palestinian territories. And the region is still rich with remnants of Christianity's early history.

Author David Rapp and photographer Hanan Isachar traveled to the Holy Land to document the sites of key importance to Jesus' life and the birth of Christianity. Their new book, Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land, features images and descriptions of 33 churches, monasteries and convents in the region. Each site commemorates a particular event or aspect of early Christian history, including the annunciation to Mary in Nazareth, Jesus' in Bethlehem and his resurrection and ascension to Heaven.

"Our work consisted of repeated visits to the sites, on holidays but also throughout the year, in order to get to know the different communities, their customs, their liturgy, and their churches," Rapp and Isachar told The Huffington Post in a statement. "We made it our mission to document -- in writing and through the camera’s lens -- the people, the colors and scents, and the ritual and pageantry that together constitute the vivid Christian presence in the Holy Land."

The book emerges at a time of great "inter-religious tension" in the Middle East, said Rapp and Isachar. Through exploring these sacred sites and the people of different faiths who live around them, they said, "this book unfolds inspiring models of cohabitation, which exist both between the followers of the three monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and within the Christian community itself."

Scroll down to see a sampling of photos from Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land:

  • Church of the Multiplication
    A view of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, Israel and the Sea of Galilee.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    A view of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, Israel and the Sea of Galilee.
  • Monastery of the Holy Cross
    The Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    The Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    The Ceremony of the Holy Light on Holy Saturday, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    The Ceremony of the Holy Light on Holy Saturday, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
  • Church of St. Anne
    Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the Catholic Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the Catholic Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem.
  • St. James Cathedral
    Armenian Orthodox Maundy Thursday ceremony at St. James Cathedral in Jerusalem.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    Armenian Orthodox Maundy Thursday ceremony at St. James Cathedral in Jerusalem.
  • Church of the Nativity
    Greek Orthodox ceremony in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during Christmas.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    Greek Orthodox ceremony in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during Christmas.
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal departs from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on the first Sund
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal departs from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on the first Sunday of Lent.
  • St. George Monastery
    Greek Orthodox St. George Monastery in the Judean Desert.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    Greek Orthodox St. George Monastery in the Judean Desert.
  • Church of the Nativity
    A young pilgrim at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    A young pilgrim at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
  • Mary's Tomb
    The icon of St. Mary on display at Mary's Tomb on the Feast of the Assumption.
    Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land
    The icon of St. Mary on display at Mary's Tomb on the Feast of the Assumption.

 

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