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The Church of the Pater Noster

It is believed to be here that Jesus taught his disciples the Pater Noster (Our Father) prayer.

The layout of the Church of Pater Noster

Throughout the church and courtyard are lovely tiles which translate the Lord's Prayer into many languages... 

Visiting Bethlehem: Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Looking up at the dome of the church at Shepherd's Field

Rough translation... I haven't studied French for many years and would welcome a better rendering of the legend on this plaque at Shepherd's Field:

          Who would be sad now? The creche is home to an infant who is the light of the world,       who takes the sin of the world.

Inside the grotto at Shepherd's Field. In this cave, the shepherds would keep their sheep while watching to ensure their safety at night.

A window in the Church of the Nativity

The star pictured here lies over the place of Jesus' birth. 
Worshipers kneel down and touch this spot in a moment of prayer

The Birth of Jesus, from the Gospel of Luke

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!

Dominus Flevit: The Lord Wept

Dominus Flevit

This beautiful church, shaped like a teardrop, is on the Mount of Olives, on the "Palm Sunday Road". It is believed to be the location where Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem at the start of his final week. In Luke 19:41-42, we read "As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes."

Just beside the church is found a tree full of thorns. After his arrest, a crown of thorns was placed on Jesus' head. The thorns on this tree were several inches long and very sharp. It is hard to imagine how painful this would have been.

The city of Jerusalem, viewed from the Palm Sunday Road just below Dominus Flevit.

A huge Jewish cemetery lies beside the Palm Sunday Road. Some of the gravesites there are thousands of years old; it is believed that King David's son Absolom is one of the notables buried there. For Jews, it is a truly holy site; it is believed that the dead here will be first to be raised when the Messiah comes. According to this web site, "Among the many legends surrounding this sacred mountain, it is said that in the End of Days people will tunnel underground from all over the world to rise up here."


The Church of the Transfiguration

Approaching the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, in lower Galilee

The beautiful altar of the Church

Less than a week after we visited this beautiful church, it was robbed and vandalized; multiple chalices were stolen, icons were damaged, and a donation box was robbed.

How very sad.