I haven’t too much to report tonight! Today the group went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and it was very interesting. Each of the Christian denominations stakes out its own territory and it seems a bit silly really! Many, many tourists and among them genuine pilgrims who pray in this holy space! The reality is that it is not an ‘authentic’ site, but it is a representation of the site where Jesus was buried. This is of course one of the ‘tensions’ in a visit to Jerusalem – what is ‘authentic’ (and can be proven by archaeology or other means) and what is ‘traditional’ – believed by believers to be ‘real’ sites of Biblical happenings. Interestingly, an ‘authentic’ site within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre appears to be a 1st Century CE Jewish cemetery – attesting no so much to Jesus’ burial but at least to burials contemporary to that of Jesus. Interesting.
Somewhere along the way I have lost my camera! We went to lunch at the Austrian Hospice – a lovely sanctuary amidst the narrow streets of the Old City – and then a few of us wandered the lanes and then went to the modern Mamilla Mall for some shopping before returning to our hotel for some wine! The snow was falling, and has continued to fall for some hours now, so it will be very ‘white’ in the morning. While this is beautiful to look at, the reality means that our plans for Masada, the Dead Sea and other places may be cancelled! The weather always has the last say, as it is at home with storms and floods, cyclones and the like! Today of course was Shabat (Sabbath) so the shops closed early (around 3.00pm) so that people could prepare for the Sabbath. Most shops will be closed tomorrow as well.
It will be interesting to see what tomorrow will bring! So now photos for this post!