Now that my scripture class is over, I have some time to post my latest photos from Israel. I have to confess (not that it isn't bleedin' obvious) that I'm not much of a photographer. My apologies to Patrick and Nancy (real photographers) for the poor quality images.
Anyhoo, without any further ado...
Here's a photo from inside St. Peter's Church in Jaffa. I think I mentioned last time that Jaffa is an ancient port city (around 4000 years old, purportedly founded by Japeth, son of Noah). The church was quite warm and humid. Unlike the liturgy I attended in Bethlehem (which was in Arabic and fairly traditional), Mass was said in English and had a fairly charismatic feel to it. Most of the congregants appeared to be Filipino. The Arab Catholics received the Eucharist on the tongue and did not hold hands during the Our Father (but rather assumed the Orans position). The Mass at St. Peter's was quite a bit like one here in the States at one of the more charismatic parishes.
You might also remember that Peter healed the seamstress Tabitha in Jaffa and had the vision of the clean and unclean animals (Acts 9 and 10).
I took a bus into Jerusalem, then a taxi from the bus terminal. I have to recommend, if you ever go to Jerusalem, that go with a tour. A one-day tour runs about $68 dollars and you see everything (including Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial). Since I came from Tel Aviv, I paid 182 NIS for taxis and the bus rides (roughly the same as the tour with a whole lot more walking). The bus from Tel Aviv is cheaper than taxi fare to the Old City. The benefit of going on your own is that you can stop wherever you like. I wouldn't recommend taking the busses within Jerusalem, but that might just be my overdeveloped sense of caution.
My driver to the Old City wasn't very accommodating. I should have told him to use the meter, but I negotiated instead. I'm not very good at doing that. Then he took me only so far as the turnpike above the Damascus gate. I had to walk quite a distance through the largely Arabic East Jerusalem to get to Gethsemane, which was closed until 2:30. (I was too tired and sweaty by 2:30 to walk back.)
Just down the hill from the Church of All Nations (which is next to Gethsemane) is the Valley of Kidron and the site of Hezekiah's tomb, which is also conveniently next to the tomb of Zechariah.
These are just a hop, skip, and jump from the Pillar of Absalom.
Further toward the south end of the valley is the City of David at one end of the tunnel of Hezekiah is the Pool of Siloam (John 9).
As I was walking to get to the Cenacle (the upper room), another taxi driver passed by and stopped. He remembered me from January. Pretty uncanny, that. However, I didn't think needed a ride.
Didn't think, but probably did. I got a bit lost at this point and wound up an a little dirt path that kept getting higher and higher above the street. Finally, some helpful locals got me back on track. Another fellow took me on a brief tour of a few lesser known sites on Mt. Zion. I also had a brief chat with a couple of Dominicans in the Dormition Abbey.
Ever wonder what Gehenna looks like? Well, here's the Hinnom Vallley of modern day:
During the first century, people used to burn their garbage there, and dead criminals and animal carcasses were usually tossed there as well (hence the reason why the fire was never quenched and the worms never died).
I was able to get into the Greek part of the Basilica this time. Here's the iconostasis.
And I had to get a picture of this beautiful Pantokrator.
The Edicule (the location of Christ's tomb) stands right outside of the Greek area. This time, I did take the time to wait in line and enter. Unfortunately, they don't allow photos inside the Edicule. Here's one from last January.
The next day, I took a guide tour to Galilee, which is north of Jerusalem some distance. Photos from that trip are coming in another post.