Ein Kerem


Description of Ein Kerem

Ein Kerem is a historic village situated just outside of Jerusalem, Israel in South - West direction. In Hebrew, the name means "Source of grapes". It officially joined territory of Jerusalem in 1948. On the territory of Ein Kerem is located one of the two campuses of the hospital "Hadassah" - one of the leading medical centers in Israel, as well as a number of Christian churches and monasteries. It was found during the Bronze Era, but it is particularly famous as a birth place of John the Baptist. One of the scenes from the New Testament also happened here when Virgin Mary came to met with his sister Elisabeth who was pregnant with John at the time.


In the Christian tradition

Christian tradition associates two important events with this place: the birth of John the Baptist, aka John the Baptist, and the meeting of the Virgin Mary with Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

Ein Kerem has several monasteries and churches within a short distance from each other, including:

Mountain Orthodox Convent founded by Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) in 1871. Near the Kazan Church of the Gornensky Monastery there is a pillar from the house of the righteous Zechariah and Elizabeth and a stone on which, according to legend, St. John the Baptist delivered his first sermon to the people.

Gorny Monastery (Горненский Монастырь)

The Catholic monastery of St. John the Baptist, erected in the 17th century on the site of the ruins of earlier churches. Here, according to legend, John the Baptist was born in the house of the righteous Zechariah and Elizabeth. The birthplace of John is in the grotto of the church, where under the throne on a marble slab there is an inscription: “HIC PRECURSOR DOMINI NATUS EST” (Here the Forerunner of the Lord was born).
Church of the Visitation - a Catholic church (XX century) on the ruins of an ancient church at the supposed site of the Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, which took place in the country house of the righteous Zacharias and Elizabeth.
Greek Orthodox Church built in 1894 on the site of an earlier church.
Monastery of the Sisters of Sion, belonging to the Order of Our Lady of Sion (fr. Notre Dame de Sion). The Monastery of the Sisters of Zion was founded in 1860 by a baptized Jew, Alfons Ratisbon, who was also buried here.

3 km west of Ein Karem is the Franciscan monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Desert, built at the beginning of the 20th century on the site where, according to legend, the righteous Elizabeth hid the baby John from the persecution of the soldiers of King Herod (Massacre of the Innocents). On the territory of the monastery are the tomb of the righteous Elizabeth and the grotto, in which, according to legend, Elizabeth hid John, and John lived after the death of his mother. The interior of the church is frescoed by the Catholic Melkites, who rented the monastery from 1978 to 2001.