I was looking for a sung Mass to attend before I departed the Holy Land when a Jesuit friend recommended this Greek Catholic Church of the Annunciation. It is arguably the most representative Byzantine church in Jerusalem, built in 1848.
The Greek Melkite Catholic Church in the Holy Land shares a common history with the Greek Orthodox Church. This common history lasted until 1724 when the hierarchy was split in two in the three Melkite Patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem.Since then, it has been in full communion with the Church of Rome and, at the same time, deeply rooted in the Eastern tradition.
From the dome down to pew-height, its interior is richly adorned with frescoes in vibrant colours.
The Liturgy and hymns are in Arabic, the language of Arabic Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land. I was fortunate to be there with two groups from Germany and Switzerland in the congregation. They finshed the Mass with a rousing, more melodic hymn to Mary, sung in parts – Meerstern, ich dich grüße – Star of the Sea, I Salute you, which I truly enjoyed.
I read in the booklet that The Fathers of the Church call the Divine Liturgy, “Heaven on Earth”. As I was leaving, the affable, white-bearded priest greeted me, asking where I was from, saying “I hope you enjoyed you short time of ‘Heaven on Earth’ with us this morning”.
See VIDEO of this Mass (from 1.00) below.
This will be my ‘last post’ (on Facebook) from the Holy Land. I am at Tel Aviv Airport ready to fly out to London, via Zurich.
PHOTO ALBUM. Please CLICK HERE to view my pictures.
Michael, “Heaven on Earth” – what a fitting end to such a memorable holiday.
What an experience!
God’s love for His people is a wonderful blessing! How amazing that holy icons can teach us, and also be a gateway to heacen.