Category Archives: Orthodox

Orthodox Services in Jerusalem AND Bethlehem

KEY: (W) = Winter (S) = Summer

Armenian

Church Sundays Weekdays
St.James Cathedral
Armenian Orth. Patr. Rd.
Tel: 02-6282331
6.30 am Morning Prayer
8.30 am Liturgy twice a month
3.00 pm Vespers
6.30 am Morning Prayer
3.00 pm Vespers
8.00 am Liturgy Sat.
Holy Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6284347
8.45 am Liturgy (W) twice a month
9.45 am Liturgy (S) twice a month
4.15 pm Procession (W)
5.15 pm Procession (S)
3.30 am Liturgy (W)
4.30 am Liturgy (S)
4.15 pm Procession Fri.+ Sat.(W)
5.15 pm Procession Fri.+ Sat. (S)
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane
Tel: 02-6284054
Phone before Phone before
Nativity Bethlehem
Rel: 02-2742410
9.00 am Liturgy (W) – 10.00 am (S) 8.00 am Liturgy (W) – 9.00 am (S)
Coptic

Church Sundays Weekday
St.Anthony Patriarchate (9th Station)
Tel: 02-6272645
5.30 am Liturgy Sat.
St. Mary’s Church 5.30 am Liturgy Mon.
St. Helen’s Church 5.30 am Liturgy Tues.
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane 7.30 am Liturgy Wed.+ Fri. (W)
8.30 am Liturgy Wed.+ Fri. (S)
Holy Sepulchre 7.00 am Liturgy (W) – 8.00 am (S) 6.00 am Liturgy Wed. + Fri. (W)
7.00 am Liturgy Wed. + Fri. (S)
2.30 pm Vespers Sat. (W)
4.00 pm Vespers Sat. (S)
St.George’s Monastery
Mar Girges Street
5.30 am Liturgy Thurs.
ETHIOPIAN

Church Sundays Weekday
Deir el Habes
8th Station – Tel. 02-6282848
Phone before Phone before
Deir es Sultan
Roof of H. Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6280326
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (W) – 7.00 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (W)
7.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) 5.00 pm (S)
Däbrä Gännät Monastery
Ethiopia Street 10
Tel: 02-6286871
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (W) – 7.00 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
4.00 am Matins (W) – 5.00 am (S)
6.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (W)
7.00 am Liturgy (not every day) (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
SYRIAN

Church Sundays Weekdays
St. Mark’s Church
Tel: 02-6283304
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S) 8.30 am Liturgy Fri. (W) – 9.30 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
Holy Sepulchre 8.30 am Liturgy (W) – 9.30 am (S)
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane 8.00 am Liturgy Wed.(W)-7.30 am (S)
Romanian

Church Sundays Weekdays
Shivtei Israel Str. 46
Tel: 02-6264628
8.30 am Liturgy
7.00 pm Vespers
7.00 am Matins – Mon.-Fri.
8.30 am Liturgy Sat.
7.00 pm Vespers
Greek

Church Sundays Weekdays
Holy Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6284202
7.00 am Orthros (W) – 8.00 am (S) 11.00 pm Liturgy (W) – 12.00 mn. (S)
St. James Cathedral
Parvis H. Sepulchre
Tel: 02-6289112
9.30 am Liturgy (W/S) Phone before
St. Constantine Convent
Greek Orth. Patriarchate
Tel: 02-6282048
5.00 am Liturgy (W)
6.00 am Liturgy (S)
5.00 am Liturgy (W)
6.00 am Liturgy (S)
Tomb of Mary, Gethsemane
Tel. 02-6274054
Phone before Phone before
St. Michel Archangel
St. Francis Street
Tel: 02-6276411
Phone before 7.00 am Liturgy Mon. + Sat. (W)
8.00 am Liturgy Mon. + Sat. (S)
St. John the Baptist
Christian Quarter Road
Tel: 02-6436297; Cell. 0544865063
Phone before Phone before
St. Charalambos
Khanqa Road, 8th Station
Mob. 0545832567
Phone before Phone before
St. Nicholas (near the Patriarchate) Will be updated. Will be updated.
St. Spyridion
Jabsheh Road – Cell. 0545670625
Phone before Phone before
St. Catherine, Rusul Street
Cell. 0543487849
Phone before Phone before
St. Theodoros, Casa Nova St.
Cell. 0549759540
Phone before Phone before
St. Anna, St. Stephen’s Gate
Cell. 0544628103
Phone before Phone before
Praetorium, Via Dolorosa
Tel: 02-6281786
Phone before Phone before
Panagia Sydnaya
Sayide Road – Tel: 02-6285356; Cell. 0544364157
Phone before Phone before
St. Efthymios, Rusul Street
Tel. 02-6277121
Phone before Phone before
St. Simeon Katamon
Bnei Betera Street, Tel: 02-6790477
6.00 am Liturgy (W)
7.00 am Liturgy (S)
Phone before
Nativity Bethlehem
Tel: 02-2748649
7.00 am Liturgy (W)
8.00 am Liturgy (S)
6.30 am Liturgy (W)
7.30 am Liturgy (S)
Russian

Church Sundays Weekdays
St. Alexander Nefsky
25, Dabbagha Street, Tel: 02-6274952
Phone before 6.30 am Liturgy Thurs.
St. Mary Magdalene
Gethsemane
Tel: 02-6284371
7.30 am Liturgy (W) – 8.30 am (S)
4.30 pm Vespers (W) – 5.30 pm (S)
6.30 am Liturgy (W) – 7.30 am (S)
4.30 pm Vespers (W) – 5.30 pm (S)
Ascension Convent
Tel: 02-6284373
6.30 am Liturgy (W) – 7.30 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
6.30 am Liturgy (W) – 7.30 am (S)
4.00 pm Vespers (W) – 5.00 pm (S)
Russian – Moscow Mission

Church Sundays Weekdays
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Russian Compound
Tel: 02-6252565;
Tel: +972 (0)2-6252565, Fax: +972 (0)2-6256325
Cell. +972 (0)54 6857278 (Sr. Ekaterina)
9.00 am Liturgy Saturday 8.00 am Liturgy
5.00 pm Vespers Sat.

Ancient Sebastiya, rooted from Canaanite, Israelite, Hellenistic, Herodian, Roman and Byzantine Cultures

The ancient city Sebastiya is rooted from Canaanite, Israelite, Hellenistic, Herodian, Roman and Byzantine Cultures. Currently, Sebastiya is falling under Palestinian rule, located about 12 kilometers northwest of Nablus, to the east of the road to Jenin. Currently, only two religions are making claims: the Christians and Muslims alike honor a connection to John the Baptist. The Romans used this site to worship the Roman empire! And earlier then all of them, this site was being used for the worship of Phoenician gods by the Canaanites (Baal and Astarte). Map.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

To start with the Christians, John the Baptist’s disciples buried his body here after he was beheaded by Herod Antipas during the infamous banquet at which Salome’s dance enthralled the governor (Mark 6:21-29). An Orthodox Christian tradition holds that Sebastiya was also the venue for the governor’s birthday banquet, though the historian Josephus says it was in Herod’s fortress at Machaerus, in modern-day Jordan. Overlooking the present village of Sebastiya are the hilltop ruins of the royal city of Samaria. Excavations have uncovered evidence of six successive cultures: Canaanite, Israelite, Hellenistic, Herodian, Roman and Byzantine.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

Omri, the sixth king of the northern kingdom of Israel, built his capital on the rocky hill of Samaria in the ninth and eighth centuries before Christ. His son Ahab fortified the city and, influenced by his wife Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, built temples to the Phoenician gods Baal (Lord of the Flies) and Astarte (Goddess of Fertility).

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

Ahab’s (devil’s worship, sacrificing children and worse) evil deeds incurred the wrath of the prophet Elijah, who prophesied bloody deaths for both Ahab and Jezebel. During its eventful history, Samaria was destroyed by Assyrians in 722 BC (ending the northern kingdom of Israel), captured by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, destroyed by the Maccabean King John Hyrcanus in 108 BC, and rebuilt by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

Herod the Great expanded the city around 25 BC, renaming it Sebaste in honor of his patron Caesar Augustus (Sebaste is Greek for Augustus). Herod even built a temple dedicated to his patron, celebrated one of his many marriages in the city, and had two of his sons strangled there.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

The pattern of destruction and rebuilding continued during the early Christian era. Sebaste became the seat of a bishop in the 4th century, was destroyed by an earthquake in the 6th century, flourished briefly under the Crusaders in the 12th century, then declined to the status of a village.

John’s Tomb

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

John the Baptist’s burial place was at Sebastiya, together with the remains of the prophets Elisha and Obadiah.

Around the year 390, St Jerome describes Sebastiya as “… where the remains of John the Baptist are guarded.”. By then, according to a contemporary account by the historian Rufinus of Aquileia around 362, pagans had desecrated the tomb during a persecution of Christians under emperor Julian the Apostate. The Baptist’s remains were burnt and the ashes dispersed. But all was not totally lost. In the night, when the pagans slept, monks saved some of the bones.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

In the 6th century two urns covered in gold and silver were venerated by pilgrims. One was said to contain relics of John the Baptist, the other relics of Elisha. Two churches were built during the Byzantine period.

One was on the southern side of the Roman acropolis (on the site the Orthodox Church believes John was beheaded).

The other church, a cathedral built over the Baptist’s reputed tomb, was just east of the old city walls and within the present village. Rebuilt by the Crusaders, it became the second biggest church in the Holy Land (after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem).

But after the Islamic conquest of 1187 the cathedral was transformed into a mosque dedicated to the prophet Yahya, the Muslim name for John the Baptist. The mosque, rebuilt in 1892 within the ruins of the cathedral, is still in use.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya
Sebastiya
Sebastiya

Pilgrims still visit the tomb associated with John the Baptist and other prophets. Under a small domed building in the cathedral ruins, a narrow flight of 21 steps leads down to a tomb chamber with six burial niches set in the wall. Tradition places John the Baptist’s relics in the lower row, between those of Elisha and Obadiah.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

The remains of the cathedral’s huge buttressed walls dominate Sebastiya’s public square.

In the extensive archaeological park at the top of the hill are remnants of Ahab’s palace, identified by the discovery of carved ivory that was mentioned in the Bible (1 Kings 22:39). The ivory pieces are displayed in the Rockefeller Museum, Jerusalem.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

Also to be seen are the stone steps leading to Herod the Great’s temple of Augustus, an 800-metre colonnaded street, a Roman theater and forum, and a city gate flanked by two watchtowers.

Sebastiya
Sebastiya

Interest in Sebastiya’s heritage and community — now entirely Muslim except for one Christian family — has been revived in the early 21st century by a project involving the Franciscan non-profit organization ATS Pro Terra Sancta, funded by Italian aid.

St. Catherine’s Monastery – a Gem in the Egyptian Desert

The Monastery of St. Catherine, also known as the Monastery of the Transfiguration, is located in a triangular area between the Desert of El-Tih, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Sinai. It is situated at an altitude of 1,480 meters in a small, picturesque narrow valley between the mountains. It is a region of wilderness made up of granite rock and rugged mountains which, at first glance, seems inaccessible. In fact, while small towns and villages have grown up on the shores of the two gulfs, only a few Bedouin nomads roam the mountains and arid land inland. Well known mountains dominate this region, including Mount Sinai (2,285 meters), Mount St.Catherine (map) (2,637 meters) and Mount Serbal (map) (2,070 meters). Click here for the Gallery.



St. Catherine’s Monastery - Maps
St. Catherine’s Monastery – Maps

This is the region through which Moses is said to have led his people, eventually to the Promised Land, and there are legends of their passing in many places. Of course, one of the most exceptional locations is that of Mount Sinai, where Moses met with God who delivered to him the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Obviously, the region is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.

The Orthodox establishment monastery holds the burning bush from which God first revealed himself to Moses. It also contains a treasure trove of icons, unique mosaic and ancient manuscripts. It’s also one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and has been the center of monastic life in the southern Sinai.

While grazing his flocks on the side of Mt. Horeb, Moses came upon a burning bush that was, miraculously, unconsumed by its own flames. A voice speaking out of the fire (Exodus 3:1-13) commanded him to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt and return with them to the mountain. Upon his return Moses twice climbed the mountain to commune with God. Regarding the second ascent, Exodus 24: 16-18 states: And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and the seventh day God called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and went up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. During this time on the mountain Moses received two tablets upon which God had inscribed the Ten Commandments, as well as precise dimensions for the Arc of the Covenant, a portable box-like shrine that would contain the tablets. Soon thereafter, the Arc of the Covenant was constructed and Moses and his people departed from Mount Sinai.

St. Catherine’s Monastery - Monks
St. Catherine’s Monastery – Monks

Monks have lived here almost without interruption since the Byzantine Emperor Justinian built the monastery in the 6th century. An earlier chapel on the site is said to have been erected on St Helena’s orders in 337. Since the location was difficult to protect from violent tribes, Emperor Justinian surrounded the monastery with a high wall of close-fitting granite stones, about 2 meters thick. Most of what can be seen on the site today dates back to the 6th century.

The Burning Bush

St. Catherine’s Monastery - Burning bush
St. Catherine’s Monastery – Burning bush

The holiest part of St Catherine’s Monastery is the Chapel of the Burning Bush, a small chamber behind the altar of the basilica. It is often closed to the public and those who enter must remove their shoes, just as Moses did when he approached the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-5). Under the chapel’s altar is a silver star which is believed to mark the site of the bush from which God called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt.

The reputed bush was transplanted several meters away. The pilgrim Egeria, who visited between 381 and 384, described it as “still alive and sprouting”, and situated within a pretty garden and it sill is.

Moses’ well

St. Catherine’s Monastery - Moses' well
St. Catherine’s Monastery – Moses’ well

St Catherine’s Monastery also holds the Well of Moses, also known as the Well of Jethro, where Moses is said to have met his future wife, Zipporah.

As recounted in Exodus (2:15-21), Moses was resting by the well when the seven daughters of Jethro (also called Reuel) came to draw water. Some shepherds drove them away and Moses came to their defence. In gratitude, Jethro invited Moses to his home and gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage.

The well is still one of the monastery’s main sources of water.

Monks’ Bones

St. Catherine’s Monastery - Maps
St. Catherine’s Monastery – Maps
St. Catherine’s Monastery
St. Catherine’s Monastery

When monks die, they will be buried in the cemetery (see above). After their bones decay, they will be exhumed  and transferred to the charnel house, where they will be cleaned and categorized. You can see the bones of thousands of deceased monks, with separate piles for legs, hands, feet, ribs and skulls. Martyrs and archbishops are in open coffins.

St. Catherine’s Monastery
St. Catherine’s Monastery

Inside the door, dressed in purple robes, sits the skeleton of Stephanos, a 6th-century guardian of the path to Mount Sinai.

Mosque

An unusual feature of the monastery compound is a mosque. Originally built in the 6th century as a hospice for pilgrims, it was converted to a mosque in 1106 for the use of local Bedouin, some of whom work at the monastery.

Of the monastery’s four original gates, three in the northwestern wall have been blocked for hundreds of years. Until the middle of the 19th century, access was by basket and pulley to a gate about 9 meters above ground level in the northeastern wall. Then a new gate was opened in the northwestern wall.

Protection from Mohammad

By the 7th century, the Monastery faced a dangerous situation and a grave crisis, mainly due to the Arab conquest. By the year 808, the number of monks in the monastery had been reduced to thirty, while Christian life on the Sinai peninsula had all but vanished. However, the monastery itself did not vanish.

The Fathers of the Monastery requested the protection of Mohammed himself, who saw the Christians as brothers in faith. Apparently, the request was favorably accepted and the so called ahtiname, or “immunity covenant” by Mohammed instructed his followers to protect the monks of the Sinai. Though this document has been a matter of controversy, it is doubtful that the monastery could have survived without the protection afforded by Mohammed and his successors.

Tourists and Pilgrims

Through the 14th century, many thousands of pilgrims came annually to the monastery, even though the journey from Cairo took eight days by foot and camel.
Following the Reformation, the popularity of Christian pilgrimage drastically declined until, during the mid 1900s, no more than 80 to100 pilgrims made the arduous journey each year.
In the 1950s the Egyptian government paved roads leading to oil fields and mines along the western Sinai coast and also developed a dirt track to the foot of Jebel Musa and the monastery, which allowed increasing numbers of secular tourists to travel in taxis from Cairo.
The completion of a paved road further increased the number of visitors to Jebel Musa. Bus service to and from Cairo became available on a daily basis in 1986 and today it is not uncommon for a hundred or more pilgrims and tourists to visit the ancient sacred site in a single day.
Currently Greek Orthodox monks tend the monastery and its extraordinary collection of Byzantine art and illuminated manuscripts.

St. Catherine’s Monastery Today

St. Catherine’s Monastery might have mighty walls and is defensively designed, but it can’t hold an attack against mortars, guns and rockets. The region is restless and it’s known that terrorists and Islamic extremists are active. Bedouins resume their duty and didn’t forget their vows to protect the Monastery, but that might not be enough!
For you, my traveler and Pilgrim, who want to pilgrimage to the St. Catherine Monastery, you are at risk to be attacked by these extremists. For the time being, please wait until the region is safe again before you go here.

Russian Compound

Russian Compound

One of the oldest sections of central Jerusalem, the Russian Compound includes the massive, striking Holy Trinity Church and several other buildings and courtyards. The compound, which is located off Jaffa Road just up from Zion Square, was constructed in the 1860’s. Map.

After the State of Israel was established, the Israeli government bought most of the buildings from the Russian Patriarchate. Today the compound houses Jerusalem’s district courthouse and the police headquarters, and the area is a happening restaurant and pub district.

Russian Compound
Russian Compound

About 100 years ago, the Russian Compound served the needs of Russian pilgrims to the Holy Land, many of whom stayed in its hostels. That was good while it lasted; however, when World War I broke out, the Ottoman authorities expelled the Russians. Then, when the British captured the city, they used the area for various administrative offices.

Russian Compound
Russian Compound