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Stories from The Holy Land

Sepphoris: Jesus’ hidden life beyond Nazareth

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.  

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How was a trip to the Holy Land 700 years ago?

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?

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Emmaus Trail, a Guidebook

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. 

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Graphics: a way to discover the Holy Land

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.

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Pilgrims are back to stay

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. 

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Hooked on the Holy Land experience

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.

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A trip to read the Gospel with new eyes

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.

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Flevit super illam, a portrait of Jerusalem

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.

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Archaeology Congress at Saxum Visitor Center

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.

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Photo gallery: the Church of the Tomb of Mary

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.

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Jerusalem dressed in white

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.

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HLD 2020 – One Year and a Pandemic Later

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.  

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“If the world has one home, it is the Holy Sepulchre”

“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.  

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Deborah and Barak

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. 

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Christian sites: an option for local tourists

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.  

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Post-Covid19 tour guide course

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.

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Shavuot and Pentecost

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.

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The Holy Sepuchre remains silent

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.

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Going back to Galilee

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.

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Hosanna! Following Jesus To Jerusalem

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.

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HLD Talks 2020: “A lot depends on us”

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. 

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“Forgiveness goes beyond the laws of justice”: HLD 2020 Conference Day

“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.

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You’ve never lived anywhere like this

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.

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A Visit from the Nuncio

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.

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“The Emmaus Trail” Tour Guide Course

“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.

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Blessing of Saxum Visitor Center

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.

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Saxum in the local news

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.

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Meet the Saxum Advisors

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.

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Saxum Hosts First Tour Guide Course

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.

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Holy Land Dialogues 2018: The Trip of a Lifetime

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.

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Memories of HLD

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.

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