Many of our days in the Holy Land have been packed full of site-seeing, tours, and prayer. However, even pilgrims need days of rest once in awhile. Today’s vlog focuses on the events of the most recent “unscheduled” day.
Two days ago, the SHMS pilgrims were given the choice to either go to the beach in Tel Aviv or stay back in Ein Kerem. Amongst those who stayed at the house were a few men made the 2 hr journey to two monasteries across the mountainsides.
The first is a Franciscan monastery: St. John of the Desert. This place marks the area where John the Baptist may have lived before he traveled to the Jordan River to prepare for the manifestation of Jesus. It is a contemplative monastery with multiple chapels for silent prayer that commemorate St. John and his parents, St. Zechariah and St. Elizabeth.
The second monastery is the Gornensky Russian Orthodox nunnery. This monastery is right above the Church of the Visitation and it commemorates the same events found in Luke’s Gospel. The cathedral is easily seen from all sides of the valley because it has five golden domes that shine brightly in the sun. Upon our arrival, we were able to catch a glimpse of their liturgy which is mostly chanted. It was truly a good use of our free time.