Holy hideaway

It’s the perfect season for a trip to an ancient Greek Orthodox monastery and to the traditional baptismal site of Qasr el-Yehud.

April 14, 2011 16:41
Qasr el-Yehud

Qasr el-Yehud 521. (photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)


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During the fourth and fifth centuries, many monks set out for solitary alcoves in Syria, Egypt and Israel. The Judean Desert was a favorite site for hideaways, for here, between the Jordan River and the holy city of Jerusalem, they could be entirely alone.

Especially sacred was that portion of the river called Qasr el-Yehud. For not only was it the traditional site of Jesus’s baptism by St. John (Matthew 3:13-17), it was also believed to be the passage through which the Children of Israel crossed into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:14-16).


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