Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Birthday of John the Baptist

Today is an important feast day for the Church. On June 24 the nativity of John the Baptist is celebrated. He was born in Ein Kerem, the village down in the valley. Before starting his public ministry, "The Forerunner" spent years in the wilderness, i.e. in my very own Jerusalem Hills.
This grotto and the spring just above it might well be where he lived and/or prayed.

Today the cave is part of the Franciscan monastery called Saint John in the Wilderness.

The service began up in the church and then continued on the steps to the grotto. This photo I took last year shows visiting Franciscan monks and priests singing the special liturgy. After the prayer, the birthday party for John began in the refectory and courtyard. It was a happy celebration!

(The church dome and the bell at sunset can be seen here in a SkyWatch post.)

15 comments:

Louise said...

You really cover some interesting things in your photos. Thank you for the things you post. I love to show them to my children ( 6 and 4). We have just been reading stories of John the Baptist and the Sea of Galilee. Your pictures are priceless! My oldest daughter did initially ask how people over there would have cameras and computers. I guess she thought they were still living in the times of Christ. She understasnds now!

Dina said...

Oh Louise, you made my day (or rather, my midnight)! I'm so glad your young kids (and you) are interested in the Holy Land. Maybe they'd like to learn about the land of the Pharaohs too? Maryanne has a wonderful blog for kids narrated by a toy moose about their travels in Egypt. See http://mstroud.blogspot.com/
Peace, shalom, to you all.

Contemplative Woman said...

Thanks for the link to John the Baptist birthplace pics. Will share them with our Sr.Moira. Thanks too for keeping up with the doings at our monstery. Please send e-mail if you would. Have questions. Shalom. Hildegard

Steven and Aisha said...

Wow! That is amazing! People there celebrate his birthday? That's awesome to know.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

So interesting places.

evlahos said...

excellent work again. thanks for shared. very interesting fact and place. someday i want to visit all this historical places. until then, i have your shots

Nathalie said...

What an interesting story and fantastic location ! Thanks Dina!

Liz said...

You see that's not how I imagined the wilderness! I am learning a lot, thank you.

Kris McCracken said...

I like the idea of a grotto. This one looks more comfortable than I'd imagined a grotto looking.

I do like the word grotto.

Grotto. :)

the teach said...

These are beautiful photos of a special celebration!

I just wanted to say, Dina, I enjoy your photos on "Picture This."

the donG said...

st john the baptist day! here in the philippines we celebrate it by throwing water at anyone passing by the house. although it only happens at specific places today.

but it's fun!

that's a nice place. the painting is beautiful!

reader Wil said...

It's interesting to know that John the Baptist's birthday is celebrated. I have never heard this before. Thank you for telling this. In the Protestants churches we have no saints. It's only Jesus whose birth, death and resurrection. So it's rather sober.

Donna said...

I Love these tours!! I would Never been able to see this! Thanks Dina!!hughugs

Tipper said...

Amazing!

Parisian Heart said...

I just recently found your beautiful blog. I particularly love these photos and learned something new and delightful from the information here. :)