Jerusalem between faith and commerce

Via Dolorosa, somehow I imagined it differently


The Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus had to cover from the official seat of Pontius Pilatus to Golgotha ​​Hill, partly loaded with his cross, lies in the middle of Jerusalem's old town.
Here the construct of my imagination begins to shake.

That on the map is Jerusalem or a small part of it. The light in the middle is the highly controversial old town, where the sanctuaries of the three world religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism are packed tightly together.
The red line is the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus had to cover from the official seat of Pontius Pilatus to Golgotha ​​Hill, partly loaded with his cross. So in the middle of it. And then the construct of my imagination begins to shake.

In the past, over 2000 years ago this route was partly outside the city. Golgotha, the execution hill was the end of the suffering. Today there is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A hill is no longer recognizable. And in general, the huge church challenges my imagination. Golgotha, on which Jesus was crucified, right down to his rock tomb, which according to myth was closed with a huge stone, is now covered in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the form of chapels. This clearly disturbs my feeling for distance and space.
The place where he was nailed to the cross is a Roman Catholic chapel, where his cross was placed a Greek Orthodox. A Muslim family still holds the key to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher because the Christian groups cannot agree on who he is legally entitled to and according to God's will.

If I had wanted to follow this path spiritually, I would have been irritated by the masses of tour groups, the cars that squeeze through the narrow streets with the pilgrims and fill the air with exhaust gases, the bazaar shops on the right and left, and the smell of cardamom coffee.

I admire the pilgrims who are deeply absorbed in their faith. The hustle and bustle doesn't seem to bother them. An Asian group stops at each of the 14 stations of the cross. They sing and pray, some cry. An Ethiopian service is held a few meters away. We are in between. The chants overlap.
This happens frequently. Church bells, Muezin and Rabi singing ring one after the other, put together. Then hundreds of believers flock through the city and hundreds of soldiers also protect them . During the Jewish prayer time, the military presence in the entire old town tripled.

In the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, on the other hand, it is quiet and apparently devout. At the anointing stone, some burst into tears, intense for minutes. I am worried, but I don't know who, maybe myself, because the place doesn't affect me as much as the others present. But here you have the time for it.
In the Holy Sepulcher, with a bit of luck, you might get five seconds to hurry to caress something and to imagine yourself exiting when you enter. Not even the candle that is lit afterwards is given the appropriate time to slowly burn down. As soon as you turn your back on her, she is blown out by a man of God and sold on to the next believer.

  1. Was there last year. I hardly found the old town spiritually either, but the meeting of the three religions, which are based on the same foundation, is somehow exciting (especially from the perspective of an atheist). Power counted more than belief early on ...

    • Absolutely agree. That also fascinated me about the old city in Jerusalem, how the three major religions live together, meet and how one religious sound leads to the next. Church bells, muezzin and Jewish rabbi.

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  3. Israel and Jerusalem are still on our travel list, we would really like to go there. Alone to watch this beautiful city. Unfortunately, we never find the right time - right now, the region is like a powder keg again.

    It is all the nicer to be taken away by other travelers with such nice reports like this one.

    LG Thomas

    • Jerusalem is absolutely worth seeing! It's just really difficult to assess whether it's a good idea. Unfortunately!

      But I'm glad that the report takes you on a little trip. Thank you Thomas.

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