All Apostles Church, CapernaumSt. Andrew's Church, Jerusalem The Church of the Visitation, Ein Kerem

  • Issue: February 2000
  • Artist: Zina Reitman
  • Designer: Zvika Reitman
  • Stamps Size: 40 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate nos.: 404, 405, 406
  • Sheet of 10 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The stamp series illustrates three churches that represent the three major parts of Christianity - Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.

The Church of the Visitation, Ein Kerem

Ein Kerem, today a picturesque suburb in west Jerusalem, was known during the Byzantine period as The City of Judea as mentioned in the New Testament (Lucas 1, 39). This was the birth place of John the Baptist who heralded the coming of Jesus, and who baptized him in the Jordan River. The Church of Visitation is located on a mountain slope and belongs to the Catholic Franciscan Order. It was built on the site identified as the home of Elizabeth, mother of John, who was visited by her relative, Mary, the mother of Jesus (Lucas 1, 39-56). In and around the church are remnants dating back to the First Temple Period as well as the Roman and the Byzantine periods. The identification of the site as the place of the visitation was consolidated during the Crusader period, and the first church was built at the same time. The place was purchased by the Franciscans during the 17th century, who restored it in 1862. The existing church was built In 1955, following archeological excavations on the site. The church, designed by prominent Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi, is elaborately ornamented and contains ancient remnants. The church facade is decorated with a beautiful mosaic describing the visit of Mary and in the courtyard are porcelain plaques Inscribed with the words of Mary's prayer - The Magnificant - "My soul magnifies the Lord..." (Luke 1; 46-56) in various languages.

top top

St. Andrew's Church, Jerusalem

The church is located west of the Old City, close to the railway station, on a hill that towers above the Valley of Hinnom. It is owned by the Scottish ‑ Presbyterians - one of the Calvinist fractions of the Protestant Church. The church is named in memory of Andrew, one of Jesus Apostles, and national saint of the Scots. The corner stone of the church was laid by Field Marshal Edmond Allenby in 1927, and is dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who fell during the British conquest of the country during the First World War. The church was designed by K. Holliday and combines eastern and western characteristics. The church is one of the more beautiful buildings built during the British mandate period.

The church decorations are minimalist and modest, some made of Armenian ceramic tiles. The banners of the military units who fought here during the First World War are kept inside the church. There is also, in the church, a metal plate in memory of Robert Bruce King of Scotland (1274-1326) who requested that his heart be buried In Jerusalem, but was not so rewarded. To the east, adjacent to the church, is the archaeological site of Katef-Hinnom, where burial caves from the time of the First Temple were uncovered. Two silver plaques, inscribed with Priestly Benedictions, or the Aaronic Blessings (Numbers, 6, 24-26), were discovered inside one of the caves. These are the earliest biblical verses known as yet, which were written in the seventh century BCE.

top top

All Apostles Church, Capernaum

Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, was a center of Jesus's activities in Galilee, and was even called "his own city" (Matthew 9,1). Capernaum was the home of Simon Ben Jonah, or St. Peter, brother of Andrew, who was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, and was appointed by Jesus "to shepherd his flock". The people of Capernaum rejected Jesus and his preaching and therefore he cursed the place saying that its fate would be worse than that of Sodom (Matthew 11, 23-24; Lucas 10, 15). The All Apostles Church belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church, successor of Christianity from the Byzantine period. The church is exceptional in its five domed structure, characteristic of Greek churches. It was built by Damianos, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1932, and is dedicated to the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus in the region of Capernaum. Archaeological excavations were conducted near the church, which exposed the remnants of Capernaum from the period of the Second Temple until Crusader times. Due to the church's proximity to the armistice lines between Israel and Syria, It was deserted from the time of the War of Independence and until after the Six Day War, when it was restored.

Dr. Gabriel Barkay

top top

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land (II) - Churches