Saturday, June 30, 2018

Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the first centuries AD

"From the earliest times Christians felt a desire to see for themselves the places hallowed by the incarnate God, where Christ was born and preached and suffered. (...)

During the first two centuries of the Christian era it was not easy to make the pilgrimage to Palestine. Jerusalem itself had been destroyed by Titus (70 AD, TN), and the Roman authorities did not approve of journeys thither. The fall of Jerusalem had resulted in the triumph of St. Paul's conception of Christianity over that of St. Iames', and the church sought to stress its universality at the expense of its ]ewísh origins. But the holy places were not forgotten. (...) When, after the triumph (of Emperor Constantine under the sign of Christ during the battle of the Milvian Bridge - 312,TN)  the empress Helena came to Palestine, the tradition that she found there was strong enough for her to be able to identify all the sacred sites.

The official recognition of Christianity, combined with Helena's voyage and her pious labors, which her son Constantine endorsed by building the great churches of the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem and the Nativity at Bethlehem, let loose a stream of pilgrims bound for Palestine. (...) By the beginning of the 4th century the number of monasteries and hostels in Jerusalem where pilgrims could be housed was said to be over three hundred."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); souce of illustration medievalchristianityd.wikispaces.com

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