Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday and birthplace of John

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Come, join the tourists.
Come into the Church of St. John the Baptist (or St. John Ba Harim) in the Jerusalem suburb of Ein Kerem.


The Franciscans built the present church in 1674 over the remains of the Crusader and Byzantine era churches.
 Further work was done in the 19th century.

Walk forward in the basilica and turn left. Go down a few stairs.


The grotto--the most revered part of the church!

Not because of the marble altar donated by Queen Isabella II of Spain.
Not just because of the lit-up "Benedictus," the first words spoken by Zechariah after the birth of his son and today recited daily in the morning prayers of Catholics.

The crypt is holy . . .


. . . because this is considered to be the exact birthplace of John.


Here--enlarge the photo and read the declaration yourself.
I'm guessing at the Latin but I believe it means "The precursor of the Lord was born here."

There will be a big celebration here--June 24 is considered by the Church the birthday of John the Baptist.
Happy birthday, Yochanan!
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(Linking to inSPIRED Sunday.)

18 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Beautiful place and the grotto is gorgeous. Wonderful photos!

Shannara said...

Lovely picture and interesting story!

Birgitta "foto CHIP" said...

Beautiful photos and I like the crypt picture the most - it has got that special feeling :)

http://foto.rudenius.se/category/PC-My-World.aspx

Petrea said...

I love how sometimes one must descend in to dark, secret places to see the holiest of things. It adds a bit of mystery.

I almost wish they'd left the remains of the Crusader and Byzantine churches, though. I'm so in love with the ancient stuff.

J Bar said...

Interesting.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Hilda said...

Thank you for this tour of such a holy and beautiful church, Dina. Happy feast day!

Ann said...

Is it a cool building, full of reverence?

Kay said...

This is so interesting, Dina. How amazing to think that this is the actual birthplace of John the Baptist.

VP said...

Another interesting place I missed, but I wasn't much of a pilgrim then...

Sciarada said...

Hi Dina, interesting church, beautiful pictures and welcome explanation. Thank you

Reader Wil said...

Very interesting place Dina! Thank you for showing.

Carolyn said...

Lovely post and great photos. St. Jean the Baptist Day is a holiday in Quebec, Canada.
Smiles

Suzanne said...

Never been to this Church, sorry I missed it because it looks beautiful. Are you going to the celebration?

JM said...

Beautiful stone walls and cript!

Karl said...

Hi Dina, beautiful photos and lovely blog! I have added it to my favorite blog list.

Best wishes Karl

Bill Nicholls said...

Nice looking church though I sceptical abut that being the exsact place he was born

VioletSky said...

Am I the only one surprised to see flowers in the crypt? (of course, they might not be real...)

Dina said...

Bill, well, yeah, you know EVERY holy place here likes to think it is the exact spot. :)

VioletSky, the fresh flowers were probably in honor of John's birthday.