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ein karem russian church

Nestled in the lush and forested mountains of Judea, Ein Karem is a picturesque village west of Jerusalem. It is renowned for its historical and religious significance and particularly as the birthplace of John the Baptist.

History of Ein Karem

Ein Karem was inhabited already in the 6th millennia BC but is scarcely mentioned in ancient texts nor the bible. Some scholars suggest identifying it with “Beth Hakerem” referenced in Jeremiah (6:1) and Nehemiah (3:14), but it’s mostly known as the hometown of John the Baptist.

Ein Karem and Christianity

Ein Karem is traditionally associated with the birthplace of John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke portrays Zachariah and Elizabeth as an elderly and childless couple residing in “a town in the hill country of Judea” (Luke 1:39). Following an angelic visit Elizabeth conceives and give birth to a child who they name Yochanan (John). Since the 6th Century his birthplace is identified at Ein Karem.

During the Byzantine period Ein-Karem developed as a Christian pilgrimage destination, and commemoration churches adorned the village. The Muslim conquest led to the destruction of these churches, but later the Crusders restored some of them. Today several churches grace Ein-Karem’s Landscape, notably –

Church of Saint John the Baptist – Ein Karems’ main church, built over the home of John the Baptist, with a crypt marking his birthplace. Excavations at the site uncovered a first century Jewish ritual bath (Miqveh), and a Byzantine-era church.

Church of the Visitation – A church on an opposite hill commemorating Mary’s meeting with her cousin Elizabeth when they were both pregrnant. The church is built on the foundations of a church from Crusader times.

Moscubia – A Russian convent whose construction began in 1905 and it was completed only in 2005 because of the communist revolution.

Touring Ein Karem

Easily accessible from Jerusalem and adjacent to Yad Vashem, Ein Karem welcomes visitors year-round. Aside its churches, various restaurants and cafes offer diverse culinary experiences. Its winding alleys among stone-built houses make Ein Karem a compelling destination for both pilgrims and tourists seeking spiritual and historical enrichment.

A tour of Ein Karem can be combined with a day tour of Jerusalem.

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