Holy Land for Christians
For Christians, the Land of Israel is considered holy because of its association with the birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, whom Christians regard as the Savior or Messiah. It is also because Jesus was himself Jewish, and personally considered it the Holy Land within the original Jewish religious context.
Christian books, including many editions of the Bible, often have maps of the Holy Land (considered to be Galilee, Samaria, and Judea). For instance, the Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae (lit. ’Travel book through Holy Scripture’) of Heinrich Bünting (1545–1606), a German Protestant pastor, featured such a map. His book was very popular, and it provided “the most complete available summary of biblical geography and described the geography of the Holy Land by tracing the travels of major figures from the Old and New testaments.”
As a geographic term, the description “Holy Land” loosely encompasses modern-day Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, western Jordan and south-western Syria.
On 4 January 1964, Paul VI made the first travel of a reigning pontiff in the Holy Land. It was a one day visit to Jerusalem which also marked the first flight ever made by a pope. On 20 April 1984, John Paul II fully recognized the Jewish nationhood and on 21 March 2000 he made the first five-days pilgrimage of a pope in Israel. He was sat on a throne where it was depicted an inverted cross, a shape which is ascribed to Saint Peter and also used by Satanists
Jerusalem is considered a holy city by the followers of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For the Jews, the city became the holiest site after the Prophet and King David conquered it and made it the capital of the unified kingdom of Israel around the year 1000 BC. Then his son Solomon built the first temple there, as the Torah states. For Christians, the city became a holy site, after Jesus Christ was crucified and rose on one of its hills called “Golgotha” around the year 30 AD, and after Saint Helena found the cross that was hung on it inside the city about 300 years later, according to what came in the New Testament. As for Muslims, Al-Quds is the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina, and it is the first of the two qiblahs, where Muslims used to turn to it in their prayers after it was imposed on them around the year 610 AD, and it also represents the site from which the Prophet of Islam Muhammad bin Abdullah ascended to heaven according to of the Islamic belief. As a result of this great religious importance, the Old City houses a number of religious monuments of great importance, such as: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Al-Buraq Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque – which consists of several sacred landmarks, the most important of which are the Dome of the Rock and Al-Qibli Mosque, although its area reaches 0.9 square kilometers ( 0.35 square miles).
The city of Hebron has religious significance for the three Abrahamic religions, with the Ibrahimi Mosque in the middle of the city, which contains the shrines of the prophets Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives. Some call it the Ibrahimi Mosque. The Prophet Abraham bought the Cave of Machpelah from the governor of the city, Efron bin Sohar the Hittite, and made it a burial place for him and his family after him. Accordingly, he and his wife Sarah were buried there, as were buried there beside him, Isaac, Jacob and their wives. In the Roman era, the Edomite commander Herod built a huge wall around the cemetery to protect it from encroachments known as al-Hayr. It was built with huge stones, some of which are more than seven meters long, with a height of nearly a meter, and the height of the building in some places is more than fifteen meters. With the spread of Christianity during the era of the Roman Empire, the place was taken and excommunicated by a church that was destroyed by the pagan Persian state during the occupation of Palestine in 614 AD. Then it was transformed into a mosque in the early Islamic ages, and during the era of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Edomite wall was reconstructed, and its upper balconies were raised with the roof. With the occupation of the area by the Crusaders, the place of the mosque was built as a cathedral church, which was soon converted again into a mosque after Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi’s liberation of Palestine in 1187. Today, the mosque is under Israeli occupation, and given the mosque’s religious importance to both Muslims and Jews, it is considered a center of ongoing conflicts between Palestinians and Jews in the city of Hebron, and thus it was divided into a mosque for Muslims and a synagogue for Jews, and it was placed under heavy security.
Bethlehem is of great importance to Christians because it is the birthplace of Jesus Christ (Jesus). Bethlehem has many churches, perhaps the most important of which is the Church of the Nativity, which was built by Constantine the Great (330 AD). The church was built over a cave or cave believed to be the stable in which Jesus was born. It is believed that this church is the oldest existing churches in the world. There is also another crypt nearby, in which Jerome is believed to have spent thirty years of his life translating the Bible. The city of Bethlehem is one of the holiest Christian sites in the world as it is the city in which Jesus Christ was born. Because of the sanctity of the city of Bethlehem in the Christian world, there are a large number of churches and monasteries as well as the holy Christian sites, in addition to various Christian institutions such as schools and a Catholic university. And various hospitals, and being the city of the birth of Jesus, the city is very popular and is associated with Christmas. The Church of the Nativity was the first of the three churches built by Emperor Constantine at the beginning of the fourth century AD, when Christianity became the official state religion, and this was in response to the request of Bishop Macarius at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325 AD. The Church of the Nativity entered the list of World Heritage sites in 2012. The Church of the Nativity is the first Palestinian site to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The city also includes Rachel’s tomb, which is one of the Jewish holy places, where it is said that the Prophet Jacob came to this city on his way to Hebron, and his wife Rachel died in a place near Bethlehem known today as Rachel’s Dome, and in Bethlehem King David was born. Rachel’s Tomb is a Mamluk/Ottoman religious building attributed to the companion Bilal bin Rabah and to Rachel, the wife of the Prophet Jacob and the mother of the Prophet Yusuf. It is erected in the shape of a dome and is considered holy by Muslims, Christians and Jews.