“Rejoice Zion, Holy Mother of the Church, God’s habitation agreements, you received first forgiveness of sins through the Resurrection”
Many sacred places exist across the Orthodox globe. Places sanctified by prayers and the ascetic life of elect people of God. However, none of these places can be compared to the Holy Land. The place where Lord himself set his feet on. The place where the plan of the Divine Providence for the salvation of man was implemented. It was not just an ascetic man who lived here, but it was Jesus Christ, the Son and Word of God who was incarnated and sacrificed on the Cross to save man and restore the prospect of “likeness” to God for the mankind.
HOLY LAND. The place where Our Lady – the purest human being ever lived – espoused the great mystery of God’s incarnation. The place – an animals’ cave – where God is born out of condescension, as a perfect man. The place where Lord calls His first disciples, where He performs His miracles, casts out demons and cures diseases… The place where Beatitudes were first heard from Christ’s own mouth along with His teachings and Parables, indicating the road that leads to true Life which is none other than communion with the Creator himself. How is it possible not to be shocked upon stepping foot on the Holy Land? The place where Christ resurrected Lazarus and where He delivered the Sacrament of the Body and Blood. The place where He was betrayed by His disciples and was lashed and humiliated by His own creation, man. The place where He was crucified and buried… but also resurrected defeating with His death the sway of death!
HOLY LAND. A visit to the Holy Land means walking the ground that Christ himself walked until the day He ascended in glory to the skies. The Land where Christ’s disciples were found when the Holy Spirit visited them and transformed them from illiterate fishermen to wise men. The place where Church was found, the Ark and salvation of the human race; the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. The Jerusalem Church produced thousands of Saints. Saints who swarmed the deserts and Lavras of the Holy Land and shed their sweat and blood. It is no coincidence that every humble pilgrim who visits the Holy Land to venerate the living stones of our faith, richly partakes in the Grace of God. From Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Resurrection, to Virgin Mary’s Tomb in Gethsemane and to Bethlehem. From Jericho and the Mount of Temptations to the sea of Tiberias and the city of Nazareth. The Grace emitting from this Land, cannot leave unmoved no human soul. A trip to the Holy Land is not just a travel experience; it is A LIFE EXPERIENCE, A DIVINE EXPERIENCE.