St. John the Baptist church in Ein Karem Village
The Church of "John the Baptist" - is regarded as one of the major sites of Ein Kerem. According to Christian tradition, it is the house in which John the Baptist was born. It is located only few minutes away from "Visitation church" where Mary visited Jhon mother, Elizabeth before John and Jesus were born.
The story of the church
In Luke's book we can read about the story, eight days after Elizabeth gave birth, she has updated her family's name to be John. The family did not understand, how can they use a name that has nothing to do with the other names of their relatives. When asking the father Zechariah, he could not speak, so he wrote on a tablet “His name is John” and only then Zechariah month was opened and his tongue set free and he began to thank god for his child birth by singing a prayer. This prayer is called «Beatitudes» (blessed).
(Luke 1:67-79) :“Blessed be the lord, the god of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He raised up for us for us a mighty savior in the house of David his servant, as he promised by the lips of holy men, those who were his prophets from the old. A savior who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us. So, his love for our father is now fulfilled and his holy covenant remembered. He swore to Abraham our father to grant us. that free from fear, and saved from the hand of our foes we might serve him in holiness and justice all the days of our life in his presence for you little child, you shall be called a prophet of god…”
Inside the Church
The gate of the compound was built at the end of the 19th century. At the top of the gate are two symbols: on the right - the Jerusalem cross consisting of a large cross and four small crosses symbolizing the wounds of Jesus on the cross. This is a symbol of the Franciscan Church, a Franciscan order named after its founder Francis in 1208. At the left, the Franciscan symbol composed of two bleeding hands. The bare hand of Jesus and one hand with the sleeve of Saint Peter.
Among the archaeological evidence they found was a Jewish purification bath from the first century. The finding is that John was a Baptist, and maybe his father was a priest. The church dates from the 6th century as a Byzantine church as identified by Theodosius who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 530. During the Crusader period, a beautiful Crusader church was built over the ruins of the Byzantine church, which was destroyed immediately after the Crusaders left the country. In 1621, the Franciscans bought the remains of the church and about 50 years later were granted permission from the Ottomans to renovate and build the place. The actual building of the church which recalls the building of the Crusader church was finally renovated only in the second half of the 19th century with the help of the Spanish royal house.
At the entrance to the church from the courtyard, we see on the door a Greek inscription "Peace to God's Martyrs". The church is built like a basilica, with a confessional and a baptismal font at the entrance. In the centre of the apse is a central altar dedicated to Zechariah and Elisabeth and Mary, the mother of Jesus, their relatives.
To the left of the apse is a descent into a cave where, in accordance with tradition, John was born. The altar placed above the birthplace of John is a gift of 1857 by the Queen of Spain. The church is decorated with paintings of Spanish art created by Spanish artists.
Church name John Baharim (John in the mountains)
Address, EIN Karem
Christian Franciscan Catholic Order. The Kingdom of Spain is in charge of the structure of the church.
|Bus lines||Bus number 28 to Jerusalem bus station or Herzel Mountain.|
|Car||Write in the waze “Ein-Karem parking” and you will be headed directly to the free parking lot on Ein karem which is only 10 minutes walk to the church.|
There is a parking lot for disabled people about 100 meters from the entrance of the church. Descending to the crypt is not wheelchair accessible and there are no public toilets. Only an extension to the front door.
Opening hours 08:00-12:00 and re-opening 14:30-16:30.
Entrance is free of charge.
Phone number +972-(0)2-6413639
Public Toilets are available.
Nearby site activities
Church of visitation is only few minutes away. If time permits can a day tour in Ein-Karem and Museum in the new city of Jerusalem, such as Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum, Herzel Museum or Israel Museum.
This site is unique because of its archaeology. At the same time, it is very interesting and refreshing to see an art of Spanish style within a church in Israel. I recommend to visit this church with the church visitation the same day that its few minutes away. Ein Karem is a very pastoral village, if you have sufficient time, you should stay at one of the charming hotels here and feel the unique atmosphere. If you do not have enough time for overnight here, you can come during the evening time and enjoy cafe and restaurants with local tasty food.