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Monks In Zion

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The Benedictines who serve at Abu Ghosh’s Church of the Resurrection set aside hours and sometimes days for meditative silence, but when they do speak, it’s often in colloquial Israeli Hebrew with their Muslim neighbors

Every year on Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christians, Jews, and Muslims stream into Abu Ghosh and fill the Church of the Resurrection to overflowing. Asked by the monks to respect the sanctity of the church (and to turn off their cellular phones), they sit waiting, expectantly, in a hushed and uncharacteristic silence. The images in the church’s brilliant frescoes, painted nearly a thousand years ago, seem to hold their breath in anticipation.

Suddenly, the pungent fragrance of incense permeates the air. Splendid music echoes through the high and ancient ceilings as, dressed all in white, Benedictine monks and nuns proceed solemnly into the sanctuary. Midnight Mass has begun.

For centuries, there were no services in this church. In fact, when the first Benedictines reached the Muslim village of Abu Ghosh they discovered unruly shrubs growing on the roof, the inner walls, and interior, covered with manifold layers of grime and calcium deposits. The whole structure was on the verge of collapse.

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Read the full article over at The Times of Israel.

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Dear Shmuel,
I am writing to tell you how pleased we were with our adventure tour with you. It was an extraordinary experience. We feel very fortunate to have had such a wonderful opportunity to see so much of Israel and so many historic and modern sites. It was an excellent mix of education and recreation and suited to all of us aged 14 to 74. We really do commend you on planning such an intriguing and diverse itinerary, and for making appropriate accommodations and alternate plans along the way. We will be thrilled to recommend you to future travelers!
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