Notes on Christian Tourist Sites

This week’s edition of the Caspari Center Media Review has several stories of interest.

Of tourist sites in Nazareth:

In anticipation of the Christmas season, Zvika Boreg compiles a list of places to visit in Nazareth, including Mount Precipice, “where the people of Nazareth tried to throw Jesus to his death but he escaped, and – according to the legend – jumped from there to Mount Tabor,” and the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches of the Annunciation.

Of trash on the “Jesus Trail”:

Christian pilgrims walking the Jesus Trail are sure to encounter mounds of trash at various points along the way, writes Yair Kraus. The 65-kilometer trail runs from Nazareth to Capernaum and passes through sites that are associated with the life of Jesus. But the lack of supervision has made it possible for people to use the trail as an illegal dumping ground. Says one tour guide: “Christians think we are a third world country.” The Minister for the Protection of the Environment has asked the local municipalities to form a joint council to deal with the issue.

Of the St. John in the Wilderness Monastery that is not in the wilderness:

Dr. Adam Ackerman writes about the St. John in the Wilderness Monastery, located in the village of Ein Kerem on the outskirts of Jerusalem. According to Christian tradition, John the Baptist lived in a cave that is now hidden within the monastery, where he “fed on honey, locusts, and plant roots, and drank from the waters of the spring….” The monastery is located within a pastoral setting, which raises the question of why it is called St. John of the Desert. The monks explain that the name is “spiritual and not geographical, a ‘desert’ in the sense of a place of solitude and detachment for spiritual elevation.” Ackerman goes on to describe how John the Baptist left this place when he was twenty years old and went to the Judean desert where he “joined the cult of the Essenes … and baptized Jesus.”

The full report is here.

Monastery of St John in Wilderness, tb020305195
Monastery of St. John in the Wilderness
Photo from Judah and the Dead Sea

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