Stories from The Holy Land
The Holy Places in the Holy Land
Saint Jerome lived many years in Bethlehem, where he translated the Bible into Latin. To him, this land was a sort of “fifth Gospel,” because if each of the four Gospels provides us with additional insight about Jesus, getting to know the geography of the land where...
The Chair of Moses
"Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida!...”(Mt 11:21). With these harsh words, Jesus condemns the hardness of heart and lack of faith of two cities in which he undertook the first phase of his public ministry. Returning to Galilee with his disciples after...
History’s Timeline and the Old Testament
The Bible tells a great story starring God and man, which is the story of salvation. It is not a conventional story about ancient Israel, but neither is it an imaginary fiction about an ancestral time. Its pages speak of relevant people and events of the past that can...
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem
After the circumcision, the Law of Moses established that the firstborn son was to be presented to the Lord and then ransomed; in addition, the mother had to purify herself of the legal impurity contracted (cf. Ex 13:2; 12-13. Lev 12:2-8). This offering of every...
Reading the Gospel in Capernaum
During pilgrimages, guides habitually ask the accompanying priest to read a Gospel passage related to the place the pilgrims are visiting. At the basilica of the Annunciation, the Grotto of the Nativity, or the Church of the Transfiguration, to cite three examples, it...
The Conversion of Saint Paul
Saul marches towards Damascus to round up as prisoners the Christians that had fled the persecution in Jerusalem, when suddenly a light appears, he falls to the ground and hears a voice from heaven that says to him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” At that...
The Lands of the Bible
On the eastern shore of the Mediterranean there is a long strip of fertile land that, since the beginning of history, has been a natural thruway for caravans traversing extensive deserts to travel between Egypt and Mesopotamia. God promised that land to Abraham: “All...
Christmas from Bethlehem: stories, places, and relics.
Christmas stories In the Middle Ages, Catholic pilgrims would visit the main sites of Jerusalem, and then set out on a multi-day pilgrimage to Bethlehem and the mountains of Judah. They were accompanied by a guide and interpreter (the dragoman) and by some Franciscan...
From Nazareth to Bethlehem
Most probably, the Holy Family traveled to Bethlehem along the pilgrim’s way. It wasn’t the shortest, but it was the safest and most cost-effective for a poor and pious family. Upon leaving Nazareth, Joseph and Mary went across Cana. Before reaching the Lake of...
God’s covenants with man
A covenant is a bilateral agreement in which each of the contracting parties makes some sort of serious commitment. In the ancient Near East, covenant treaties between heads of nomadic clans, or also between nations and kingdoms, established agreements between peoples...
The “Prophet, Evangelist and Apostle” Isaiah leads us by the hand through Advent
The legacy of Isaiah in the Bible is grandiose. In the fourth century, Saint Jerome, with his passion for Scripture, calls him "not just prophet, but evangelist and apostle" (PL XXIV, 18). As evangelist, he draws a portrait of the Messiah -700 years before his coming-...
Mary, conceived without original sin
Until the thirteenth century, many theologians thought that Mary was conceived with the stain of original sin and subsequently, the same as John the Baptist and others, was cured of it in the maternal womb. Even Thomas Aquinas describes it that way, saying that “if...
Capernaum: Jesus in Peter’s house.
"As he was passing by the Sea of Galilee,” one day, Jesus “saw Simon and Andrew, Simon's brother, casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen" (Mk 1,16). Later, under very similar circumstances, Jesus called the sons of Zebedee. "And they left their father...
Saint Francis and the Sultan: The Origins of Franciscan presence in the Holy Land.
“The sultan's tent: where is it, please?” a man dressed in rags asks politely but firmly. The Muslim guards, overwhelmed by so much candor and daring, escort the poor man to the presence of Al-Kamil, nephew of Saladin the sultan of Egypt. The scene took place in 1219...
Who was Abraham?
God's call to Abram, in the eighteenth century before Christ, is God's entry into human history. God makes himself known to Abram as the only true God and asks him to leave his land and set out for a country to which He will guide him. To encourage him to obey, God...
The Golden Gate and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
The Golden Gate and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross From the front of the Church of “Dominus Flevit” in Jerusalem, a tour guide calls his pilgrims attention to the eastern wall of the Esplanade of Mosques. Just below the Dome of the Rock, the double arch of an...
Bible Portico: more languages available
A gateway to the Bible Saxum International Foundation publishes Bible Portico, a book that helps to better understand the Sacred Scripture, with timelines, maps and graphics for each of the books. For centuries, pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela have seen their faith...
Msgr.Fernando Ocáriz visited Saxum Visitor Center during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Msgr.Fernando Ocáriz visited Saxum Visitor Center during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This past August, we had the joy of receiving the visit of the Prelate of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, who has been a great promoter of the Saxum project since its...
Sepphoris: Jesus’ hidden life beyond Nazareth
We are accustomed to imagining Jesus’ hidden life as a quiet one in the small and peaceful village of Nazareth, working in the carpenter’s workshop with Joseph. However, historical research about Sepphoris allows us to go beyond this image and enrich the context in which his childhood, youth, and early adult years could have unfolded.
How was a trip to the Holy Land 700 years ago?
In the era of massive tourism, we are used to pilgrimages in which we reach the Holy Land by plane, travel around it inside an air-conditioned bus, stay in friendly hotels and eat in restaurants. But have you ever wondered how pilgrimages were back in time?
Emmaus Trail, a Guidebook
Emmaus Trail, a Guidebook has been finally published. We hope that many pilgrims and hikers will enjoy the experience of discovering all the historical, archaeological and biblical sites that can be found along the way.
In pictures: Holy Week in Jerusalem
It happened one more year: Holy Week gave way to Easter in Jerusalem, where the events of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus took place.
Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land at Saxum
The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land were at Saxum Visitor Center as part of their second day of plenary assembly, in which they visited the Christian places in Abu Ghosh.
Graphics: a way to discover the Holy Land
On Monday, April 25, Saxum Visitor Center will host an event under the title Graphics: a way to discover the Holy Land. This conference will discuss how visual journalism tried to explain the most important site for Christianity: the Holy Sepulchre.
Holy Week in Jerusalem: Live It
This video is a glimpse of last year’s Holy Week in Jerusalem. We hope that many pilgrims will come and live the experience.
Pilgrims are back to stay
More than 10,000 kilometers separate Rio de Janeiro from Jerusalem.This is the distance that Raul traveled to make one of those life-changing trips: a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Hooked on the Holy Land experience
Marion Barot enjoys getting to know new countries and people. For this reason, her first trip to the Holy Land in 2017, of just six days, was not enough for her. She fell in love with the experience and came back again for three weeks.
A trip to read the Gospel with new eyes
“It’s amazing; everyone should come. You are walking and seeing the Gospel with your own eyes.” Amparo, of Valencia, Spain, is among the first to visit the Holy Land since the pandemic, thanks to the lifting of travel restrictions to the country.
Flevit super illam, a portrait of Jerusalem
In this painting of imposing magnitude, the viewer enters the scene from behind the disciples and sees Jesus in profile. All gazes – of surprise and amazement – are directed towards him. It is dusk in Jerusalem and the first star has arisen.
Archaeology Congress at Saxum Visitor Center
The annual congress of the Israeli Antiquities Department took place at Saxum Visitor Center’s conference hall on August 5th. It was the fifth edition of the Judean Hills Archaeology, Environment and Community Congress.
Photo gallery: the Church of the Tomb of Mary
This church dates back to the 12th century, the times of the First Crusade. It is shared by the Orthodox Eastern Churches and contains the place where tradition says the body of Mary was laid before being taken to Heaven.
Saint Mary Magdalene’s Church, a hidden jewel in the Mount of Olives
This unexpected spring oasis in the middle of the Mount of Olives is the convent of Saint Mary Magdalene, home to nuns of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Fire in the forest near Saxum controlled
Yesterday morning, Wednesday June 9, a forest fire broke out in Mount Har Haruah, an area close to Saxum.
Saint Helena and the finding of the True Cross
The feast of the Invention of the Cross and the feast of Saint Helena are celebrated in May and commemorate the finding of the most precious relic of Christianity.
The Status Quo: the unwritten rule that regulates the Holy Sepulchre since 1852
“Things, as they have been running until today, shall remain as at present, pending a final agreement.” This was the declaration made in 1852 that established what was shortly after called the Status Quo.
The privilege of living in the hometown of the Holy Family
Nazareth. A young man meets a young woman. After seeing each other only two more times, he proposes, feeling strongly that it is the will of God.
Jerusalem dressed in white
The snow storm that had covered Athens arrived in Jerusalem a couple of days later. Although not as heavy as the Greek one, it left a beautiful white picture of the Holy City and its surroundings.
HLD 2020 – One Year and a Pandemic Later
One year ago, when we first started to hear about the coronavirus spreading from China, we were immersed in preparations for the third Holy Land Dialogues (HLD). HLD is a pilgrimage to the Holy Land that combines spiritual and academic elements with participants from around the world.
St Joseph’s footprints in the Holy Land
Pope Francis has dedicated this year 2021 to Saint Joseph, father of Jesus and husband of Mary. So let’s explore the different Holy Land sites where we find his footprints.
“If the world has one home, it is the Holy Sepulchre”
The Holy Sepulchre is probably the most fascinating site of the Holy Land. However, many tourists and pilgrims get the impression of a very chaotic and crowded place, with people shouting, pushing, and where it is difficult to find a moment of silence to meditate.
“It has hit me in a personal and spiritual way”
My name is Alejandra Hernández. I’m from Guatemala. This adventure began for me in November 2019 and I was really excited about it. At first I wasn’t able to foresee the size of all what was awaiting me.
The upcoming Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot
During the next few weeks, the Jews will be celebrating some of the most important holidays in their calendar. Starting with the sunset of September 18 (Tishrei 1 in the Jewish calendar), they will welcome Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Deborah and Barak
Yet another biblical story on Mount Tabor… The first major event in the history of the Bible which took place in the surroundings of Mount Tabor was the victory of Deborah and Barak in their battle against the Canaanites.
Christian sites: an option for local tourists
Travelling is not that easy this summer due to the pandemic restrictions. Therefore, local tourism has boosted. Israel has not been an exception and this situation has strengthened the trend of Israelis visiting the Christian sites in their country.
Post-Covid19 tour guide course
Wednesday June 10, Saxum Visitor Center staff received a group of tour guides after reopening of museums and similar institutions in Israel was allowed.
Shavuot and Pentecost
Shavuot is the Jewish feast day which commemorates that God gave the Ten Commandments of the Law to Moses in Mount Sinai, after the people of Israel fled from Egypt.
The Holy Sepuchre remains silent
Everything has changed since the tourists left and it was closed due to the coronavirus. The square is usually empty except for a few people praying before the doors or a neighbour passing by.
Going back to Galilee
When Jesus appeared to the women, he told them: “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee”. That is why we find Peter and the others fishing in the lake as they used to do before.
Hosanna! Following Jesus To Jerusalem
Ten days after I arrived in Israel, I found myself singing “Hosanna”, along with thousands of Christians, in the ancient village of Bethphage. In Bethphage, there is a church that commemorates the place where Jesus found the donkey he would ride into Jerusalem.
HLD Talks 2020: “A lot depends on us”
In this year’s Holy Land Dialogues (HLD), after popular request, participants were able to hear about the Holy Land from those who know it best: entrepreneurs, journalists, activists, and scholars who live here. These sessions took place after dinner, after a day of visiting sites.
“Forgiveness goes beyond the laws of justice”: HLD 2020 Conference Day
As part of Saxum Foundation’s annual pilgrimage, “Holy Land Dialogues”, pilgrims spend time each week thinking about a topic related to dialogue in the Holy Land and wherever they live. This year’s topic was forgiveness, and February 26 found the participants at the Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem, taking a break from visiting Holy Sites to listen to lectures on the topic.
You’ve never lived anywhere like this
“The center of the world,” some call it. For others, “a city in transit” or “a meeting of strangers”. The always restless Holy Land, the Promised Land… Jerusalem. Eternal Jerusalem.
Martin and Jernej on visiting the Holy Land
Martin and Jernej, two German university students, talk about what it was like visiting the Holy Land this past August. Their group stopped by Saxum Visitor Center at the end of their trip.
A Visit from the Nuncio
On July 6, Saxum received a special visit from Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli. Archbishop Girelli is the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and the Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine. The Nuncio is the diplomatic representative of the Holy See and serves as the liaison between the Holy See and the Church in that particular nation.
The Golgotha Frescoes: Tour Guide Course at Saxum
On Friday, March 29, Saxum hosted its second course for tour guides, this time about the recently restored frescoes on Calvary, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
“The Emmaus Trail” Tour Guide Course
This April, Saxum Visitor Center was thrilled to be able to fulfill one of its longtime goals: to host a course for tour guides as part of the continuing education program of the Ministry of Tourism.
The “Marathon” Pilgrimage
Last month Friends of Saxum Italy took part in the 9th annual Jerusalem Marathon as part of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Blessing of Saxum Visitor Center
On March 1, 2019, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, blessed the facilities of Saxum Visitor Center. Msgr. Mariano Fazio, the vicar general of Opus Dei, was present, in addition to many local Christians and members of religious communities.
Saxum in the local news
Last week our Communications Director, Gabriela, was interviewed by the Arabic-language magazine of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. This was the first ever interview in Arabic about the multimedia tour at the Saxum Visitor Center.
Saxum at the Tel Aviv Tourism Fair: IMTM 2019
Last week the Saxum Visitor Center had the opportunity to take part in IMTM 2019, the 25th annual international tourism exhibition, held in Tel Aviv.
Meet the Saxum Advisors
For the first time, a group of Saxum Advisors from around the world met at Saxum to brainstorm on how best to bring the Holy Land closer to their own countries.
Saxum Visitor Center opens in presence of Minister of Tourism
On Thursday, February 7, 2019, the Saxum Visitor Center in Abu Ghosh officially opened. Yariv Levin, the Minister of Tourism of Israel, and Msgr. Giacinto Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem were present, in addition to around 130 participants.
Saxum in Portugal: The Israeli Tourism Seminars
This month Saxum traveled to Portugal to present the Visitor Center to Portuguese travel agencies.
2018 Christmas Celebration with Ministry of Tourism and Religious Authorities
This past Wednesday, December 19, members of Saxum’s staff attended Israel’s Ministry of Tourism yearly Christmas party, in which the Minister of Tourism (Yariv Levin) invites Christian authorities and other who work in Christian tourism industry to a holiday celebration.
Saxum Hosts First Tour Guide Course
Yisca Harani, an expert among Israeli tour guides on the history of Christianity, organized the day’s activities in coordination with Saxum, so that tour guides could also get to know this new tool for learning about the Holy Land them and their groups.
“Without Jerusalem, our faith would be only a story”
This year, the guest of honor was Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, accompanied by Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, the prelate of Opus Dei.
Archbishop Pizzaballa Visits the Saxum Visitor Center
Last week, on Wednesday, June 6, the Saxum Visitor Center received an important visitor: Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The word “HERE” has never held so much force: Easter in Jerusalem
Holy Week and Easter are lived intensely in Jerusalem and “to follow the steps of Christ” has never felt so real.
Holy Land Dialogues 2018: The Trip of a Lifetime
From February 4th to February 11th, the Holy Land welcomed 200 people from 20 different countries -such as China, Brazil, Ecuador, Singapour, Belgium, Honduras…- to participate in the second Holy Land Dialogues. HLD is an event that combines a pilgrimage with academic lectures that foster intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.
“Jerusalem: Holiness in the Flesh” – R.R. Reno at HLD 2018
On the evening of Wednesday, February 7, the pilgrims of Holy Land Dialogues gathered in Beit Shmuel once again to listen to another prominent figure speak about Judeo-Christian dialogue: R.R. Reno, the editor of the American journal First Things.
“Defending the West Through the Hebrew Bible”, Melanie Phillips at HLD 2018
On February 12, the first full day of Holy Land Dialogues, participants gathered in Beit Shmuel to listen to a stirring talk by Melanie Phillips on the need to defend Western values as derived directly from the Bible.
Laying of the Last Stone: “Saxum is a project of hearts coming together”
“Saxum is not just a construction project. Saxum is a project of hearts coming together, and that’s what makes it so unique.”
Memories of HLD
I was in the Holy Land in 2010 on a week long course based in Jerusalem. I therefore knew a little of what to expect, and had of course been to a lot of the Holy Places before. This trip, however, far exceeded my expectations.