PILGRIMAGE  in  HOLY-LANDS

 

EIN KEREM

 

Desa ini terletak 7 km di sebelah barat daya kota Yerusalem. Sekelilingnya terdapat banyak pohon zaitun dan kebun anggur. Menurut tradisi kuno yang dibenarkan oleh penggalian arkeologis, di desa ini tinggal Zakharia dan Elizabeth serta Yohanes Pembaptis, anak mereka, serta sanak saudara Maria. Di desa ini Zakharia memiliki dua rumah. Di atas rumah yang dulu biasa ditempati oleh keluarga Zakharia, kini berdiri Gereja St. Yohanes Pembaptis. Sedangkan di atas rumah yang dipakai pada musim panas, berdirilah Basilika Kunjungan Maria.

 

Church of the Visitation  (Lukas 1:39-40) - Maria mengunjungi Elizabeth

 

Said to be built over the home of John the Baptist's parents, the Church of the Visitation stands high up on the hillside of Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. From here there is a wonderful view of the valley and the surrounding wooded hills.

In Luke 1, the pregnant Mary visited her pregnant cousin Elizabeth and stayed for three months (Luke 1:56). Upon Mary's arrival, the unborn John the Baptist recognized the unborn Jesus and "leaped with joy" in Elizabeth's womb (Luke 1:44).

Elizabeth exclaimed, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" and Mary sang a hymn of thanksgiving known as the Magnificat:
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." (Luke 1:46-55)

This event is the "Visitation" commemorated by the present church, which is believed to stand over the site where the event took place.

The present Church of the Visitation incorporates a natural grotto that once contained a small spring. The grotto became a place of worship in the Byzantine period, and the Crusaders built a large, two-storey church over it. The church collapsed after the Crusaders left.
In 1679, the site was bought by the Franciscans. After two centuries, they finally managed to get permission from the Ottoman authorities to restore the church. The Lower Church was restored in 1862 and the Upper Church was completed in 1955.

The Church of the Visitation is reached by steps up from the main road through the village. In the church courtyard, one wall is covered with ceramic tiles bearing the words of the Magnificat in 42 languages.
Designed by Antonio Barluzzi, the upper church has a Tuscan-style painted ceiling and large murals depicting the titles with which Mary has been endowed Mother of God, Refuge of Sinners, Dispenser of All Grace, Help of Christians and the Immaculate Conception. The lower church is decorated with large frescoes of other Hebrew women of the Bible known for their "hymns and canticles."

 

The Magnificat is exhibited in 42 languages there (including bahasa Indonesia)

 

Basilika Kunjungan (Church of the Visitation) terdiri dari dua bagian: bawah dan atas. Di bagian atas terdapat banyak lukisan dinding yang indah dibuat oleh C. Vagarini dan F. Manetti. Gereja ini mengenangkan perjumpaan Maria dengan Elizabeth yang sudah mengandung Yohanes Pempabtis. Pada saat itu, Elizabeth berkata, "Siapa saya sehingga ibu Tuhan datang kepada saya" (Lukas 1:43). Maria menanggapinya dengan sebuah madah indah yang kini dikenal sebagai Magnificat. Teks lengkap madah ini (sebuah madah kecintaan umat Kristen) dapat dibaca dalam Injil Lukas 1:46-56. Teks Magnificat dalam berbagai bahasa termasuk bahasa Indonesia dapat dibaca pada tembok di halaman Basilika. Basilika sendiri didirikan pada tahun 1935 menurut rancangan A. Berluzzi di atas puing-puing gereja-gereja terdahulu. Gereja yang pertama didirikan pada abad 4. Dalam kapel di bagian bawah Basilika, kunjungan Maria kepada Elizabeth diabadikan dalam sebuah lukisan pada tembok di belakang altar. Lukisan itu dibuat oleh A. Minghetti. Di sebelah altar k di bawah, terdapat sebuah sumur kuno. Sampai sekarang di situ terpelihara goa tempat persembunyian Elizabeth terhadap kekejaman para algojo Raja Herodes yang menyuruh membantai semua anak berusia 2 tahun ke bawah di sekitar Bethlehem.

 

View of Ein Kerem, with the tower of the Church of the Visitation on the right

 

Gereja St. Yohanes Pembaptis berdiri di bagian pusat Ein Kerem, di tempat dahulu konon berdiri rumah keluarga Zakharia, ayah Yohanes. Karena itu gereja ini disebut Rumah Yohanes pula. Pada awal abad 1, di tempat ini kaisar Hadrianus mendirikan sebuah kuil dewi Venus untuk menghina agama Kristen. Patung Venus itu serta sisa-sisa kuilnya ditemukan pada tahun 1941-1942. Kuil Romawi itu dirubuhkan di zaman Bizantium (abad 5), lalu di situlah didirikan gereja pertama. Dari zaman itu sampai kini terpeliharalah sepotong mosaik di lantai yang menggambarkan sejumlah burung (di antaranya burung merak) dan bunga. Di gereja ini terdapat sebuah kapel. Di bawah altarnya dapat disaksikan sebuah bintang dikelilingi tulisan Latin 'Hic Praecursor Domini natus est' (Di sini lahirlah Pendahulu Tuhan) yang menunjukkan tempat kelahiran St. Yohanes Pembaptis. Peristiwa kelahiran Yohanes Pembaptis didahului dengan penampakan Malaikat Gabriel kepada Zakharia  di Bait Suci (sekarang Dome of the Rock) di Yerusalem yang diceritakan dalam Injil Lukas 1:5-25. Kelahiran Yohanes sendiri dikisahkan dalam Injil Lukas 1:57-66. Pada hari Yohanes disunat, Zakharia mengucapkan sebuah madah yang kini dikenal dengan nama Benedictus (Lukas 1:67-79).

 

Ein Kerem is a quiet village 7km southwest of the Old City. Formerly Palestinian, the village's stone houses are now filled primarily with Jewish artists and sculptors. The area has several galleries and a number of good restaurants.
Down the hill from church, a small mosque marks the site of the Spring of the Virgin, for which Ein Kerem ("spring of the vineyard") is named. Nowadays, the spring is used to irrigate crops.

 

Names: Church of the Visitation
Type of site: Biblical site; Franciscan church
Ownership: Franciscans
Dates: 1862 (lower church); 1955 (upper church)
Location: Ein Kerem, above the Spring of Virgin, Jerusalem, Israel
Hours: Apr.-Sept., daily 8-noon and 2:30-6; Oct.-Mar., daily 8-noon and 2:30-5. Gates closed Sat., ring bell to be let in.
Cost: Free

 

 

GOD IS THE LORD WHO DOES MIRACLES

   

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