The first Christian monasteries in the Land of Israel
Duration: 1 days
What to bring: High-topped shoes, hat, water and suitable clothing
Language: The tour is originally in English.
The idea of Christian Monasticism developed around the first century as a type of imitation of the Judean desert sects, the Essenes and others. It seems that in the second and third centuries there were monks who imitated the isolation of Jesus (the 40 days at Mount Carental in the Jordan Valley), but they did not leave any records, and in fact only from the 4th century, when the Christian religion became official, they began to document in an orderly fashion. The idea was to leave the cities and the masses, and to find seclusion and asceticism. Only there did they feel close to God. The location of the monks was not far from the metropolis, usually a day or two walking distance, since they needed food, but they also tried to influence what was happening in the city. We know that monks became conflict-mediators, crisis-solvers, spiritual authorities, etc. Christian Monasticism began in Egypt, and from there it spread to other places. In the Land of Israel it began in the Judean Desert, this desert region was called "the wilderness of the holy city" or "the desert of Jerusalem", and in the sixth century there were thousands of monks living in the area. We will talk about the first monk in the Land of Israel, Hilaryon, and those who came after him were Chariton, Euthymius, Sabas, Theodosius, Gerasimos. We will discuss the cenobitic (communal) monasteries and the eremitic (hermit) monasteries, and the differences of opinion.
What were the reasons for the decline of Christian enterprise in the desert, and what were the reasons for the revival of monasteries in the desert beginning in the 19th century? We will visit monasteries, and in some of them we will try to talk with the monks.
The tours involve walking, sometimes in mountainous areas, up to an hour's walk.