Israel 2011 — Day 4 — Nazareth

We spent our entire day today in the vicinity of Nazareth, the town where Jesus lived his first 30 years. Our first stop was the extraordinary Basilica of the Annunciation, commemorating the visit of the angel Gabriel to young Mary in which he informed her that she had been chosen to give birth to the Son of God. The church is very new (completed in 1969) and is incredibly beautiful both outside

Basilica of the Annunciation

and inside. Both in and around the church are mosaics, gifts from many of the countries of the world.

Inside the Basilica of the Annunciation

Father John said Mass in the lower church, where a group of pilgrims from Sweden joined us and tagged along with us for a while.

Mass in the Basilica

The upper church was much more colodful, with many interesting panels from around the world,

Altar of the Upper Basilica

(the United States panel is somewhat controversial — many think it is ugly).

USA Panel in the Basilica of the Annunciation

In the same complex is the Church of St Joseph, dedicated to Jesus’ father. It is much smaller and more traditional.


Church of St Joseph

From here we walked through the Old City marketplace (unfortunately closed on Sunday) to Mary’s Well, the village water supply point where Mary undoubtedly drew water as a resident of Nazareth.


Mary's Well

In Mary’s Well Square, we glanced at a Greek Orthodox Church which commemorates her annunciation.


Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation

Along the way we also stopped briefly at the Synagogue Church where a young Jesus actually began his preaching. As we are told in the Bible, his townspeople rejected him and actually chased him out of town, threatening to throw him off what is now known as the Mount of Precipice, a spot we also visited.


Mount of Precipice

On our way to Cana we took a short detour to a scenic overlook where we got a bird-eye view of Nazareth, a true “hill town.”


In Cana we renewed our wedding vows in a ceremony at the Church of Cana with Father John presiding.


Inside the Church of Cana




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