Nazareth Well done! You have completed your journey and arrived at Nazareth. Modern-day Nazareth is nestled in a natural bowl which reaches from 320 metres above sea level to the crest of the hills about 488 metres. Nazareth is about 15 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 miles west from Mount Tabor, closer to Tel Aviv than Jerusalem; Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel and the largest Arab city in Israel. It is the only urban area with over 50,000 residents in Israel where the majority of the population is Arab. This childhood home of Jesus has been a centre of pilgrimage for centuries with its many churches and shrines commemorating the life of the Holy Family and the ministry of Jesus. Of these, the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Annunciation (completed 1966, on the site of a previous church of 1730 and a crusader foundation) is perhaps the best known. It is built around the Grotto of the Annunciation which preserves the childhood home of Mary, where, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26–31). The grotto has part of a mosaic floor dating back to the 5th–6th century. The Basilica of the Annunciation is the largest Christian house of worship in the Middle East. You can experience it here - Other important churches include the Church of St Gabriel, held by Greek Catholics to be the site of the Annunciation; the Synagogue-Church, on the site of the synagogue where Jesus preached (Luke 4); the Church of St Joseph, on the site of Joseph’s carpentry shop; the Mensa Christi (“Table of Christ”) Church, where tradition holds that Jesus dined with the Apostles after his Resurrection; the Basilica of Jesus the Adolescent (the Salesian Church), on a hill overlooking the city from the north and the Christ Church, the Anglican church in Nazareth. Several of the churches have attached museums with holy relics. In addition there is Mary’s Well which is the only natural well in Nazareth, and lies 140 yards from the Basilica and the beginning of the ‘Jesus Trail’ a 40 mile hiking and pilgrimage route in the Galilee region of Israel that traces the route Jesus may have walked, connecting many sites from his life and ministry. Friends of the Holy Land’s mission is to support a sustainable Christian presence. Christian Community - Out of a population of around 77,000 around 30% are Christian. Sadly, nowadays many pilgrims commute from their luxury hotels by the Sea of Galilee to spend half a day visiting the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth and do not visit the dozens of other churches and monasteries in the Old City, nor do they meet with the local Christian communities. Therefore, they not only miss so many experiences but fail to support the many small Christian restaurants, souvenir and craft shops and other businesses in Nazareth. Having travelled so far to the Holy Land, we would recommend that you stay at least one night in Nazareth and spend at least one day exploring the city - http://www.nazarethinfo.org/en/where-to-go/religious-sites?page=1 is a good starting place for ideas. On the ‘where to sleep’ section of this webpage you will see there are many hotels and guest houses offering you the opportunity to extend your stay in Nazareth, explore the city and meet and get to know the local community. These businesses are either Christian owned or employ many Christians, should you need any help in finding information we have local contacts who are pleased to support you in your search. Friends of the Holy Land has supported these communities through the Latin and Anglican parishes for several years particularly in helping the most vulnerable meet the cost of education in the Christian schools for their children. Habib Karam from the Latin community, outlines our most recent project in supplying laptops during the school closure due to the pandemic here - The Anglican community in Nazareth is centred around Christ Church, led by the Revd Nael Abu Rahmoun. You can discover more of the history of Christ Church in this older article from the St Francis magazine in 2012 here. Revd Nael greets you from his church in Nazareth: School - CHRIST EPISCOPAL SCHOOL, NAZARETH – Under the School President, the Venerable Samuel Barhoum, the school has a student population of 1,200 across grades K-12 and is the largest school owned and operated by the Diocese of Jerusalem. Founded in 1851 by the Church Mission Society, it has long served Palestinian Christian and Muslim students who are a minority in Israel. Students from the school graduate tri-lingual – Arabic, Hebrew and English. Students take the Israeli university entrance exams in Hebrew and most go on to higher education. Thank you for your fundraising efforts! We hope you have found the information we have shared along the way with regard to the Christian communities of the Holy Land captivating and our mission to sustain them compelling. As travel restrictions ease please consider making a physical pilgrimage to the Holy Land very soon, if we can help you organise that in any way or you would like to visit any of the communities in person that you have visited virtually please do not hesitate to get in touch. Should you wish to hear more information about or work or the communities you have heard about please contact us at [email protected] or tel: 01926 512980. Please also share your new knowledge of our work and the plight of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land with your friends and family, your parish and the wider Christian community in your neighbourhood. We shall be sharing the results of the Pentecost Challenge and updates as to the impact that has been achieved online and through our newsletter which we expect to distribute in July; please make sure to register on our website if you haven't already. Our sincere thanks!