Itinerários

At the inn of the good Samaritan


by Pietro Kaswalder O.F.M. * |  7 de Fevereiro de 2012

A view of the Khan of the Good Samaritan.

A virtual visit to the “Khan” - or inn - of the Good Samaritan which was reopened to the public in May, 2009. The site remained closed for several years because of excavations and restoration work organized by the civil administration of Judea and Samaria in cooperation with the Israeli Department of Antiquities.


The “Khan” - or inn - of the Good Samaritan was reopened to the public in May, 2009.

The site remained closed for several years because of excavations and restoration work organized by the civil administration of Judea and Samaria in cooperation with the Israeli Department of Antiquities.

The final results of the excavations and of the conservation of antiquities are highly praiseworthy. In order of importance, the three most interesting aspects are: the archaeological examination of the entire area on the south and north of the modern road; the creation of the Good Samaritan Museum; the restoration of the sacred area, keeping pilgrims in mind.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers….” This is how the parable of the Good Samaritan starts (Lk 10, 30-37). During the narration an “inn” is highlighted where the merciful Samaritan entrusted the poor traveler to receive assistance and necessary healing after his brutal adventure. “Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him” (Lk 10, 34).

Following the results of the archaeological research recently finished, it seems possible to affirm that during the time of the New Testament (First Century A.D.) a structure to welcome travelers existed at the site called Khan al-Hatrur. Thus, it is possible that the author of the parable was spurred by the reality he saw while traveling along the road between Jericho and Jerusalem.

Christians place the parable of Luke (Lk 10, 30-37) at a specific stretch of the road about halfway between Jerusalem and Jericho, precisely at 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the Holy City.

The inn of the Good Samaritan has suffered heavily because of historical events, existing along a well traveled route and being tied to a military structure. The surrounding area is known as the Judean Desert, dotted with ruins of Byzantine monasteries. Here are the principal monasteries encountered in the descent from the Mount of Olives.

The archaeological investigation directed by Itzhak Magen, an Israeli, allowed for the re-creation of the occupational history of this site. This is most certainly the most brilliant result of Operation “Good Samaritan.” Archaeological excavations revealed traces of the first houses placed along this route.

During the era of Herod (First Century B.C.) cisterns were dug and a medium-sized building was constructed. It was filled with thermal baths with well-manufactured brick walls and rooms and mosaic pavements. The foundations of these structures are found near the apse of the small Byzantine-era church. Natural caves were alongside the building and were converted into storerooms and treasure rooms.

The complex formed a secure refuge for caravans, whether military or commercial, passing through. Perhaps the author of the Good Samaritan parable saw before his eyes the meaning of this stop along the route to Jericho and was spurred by this experience to give a teaching, as do many other Gospel parables.

In the Sixth Century a holy Christian square was built, measuring 24 meters by 26 meters (79 feet by 86 feet). It also had a mosaic pavement, which has been rebuilt with great patience. The Christian shrine was also rebuilt, but with larger dimensions than the previous one, during the Crusader era (12th Century A.D.).  Several centuries later, the Khan of the Good Samaritan was called the Monastery or the House of Joachim (Cfr. Fr. Suriano, 1485, and Anselm, 1509).

In the Mamaluke era (14th through 15th Centuries A.D.) the spot remained operational for pilgrims and travelers. During the Turkish era the spot was rebuilt atop the previous ruins, causing damage to the original structures. It suffered notable damage during the fighting in 1917 and was partially restored during the British Mandate in Palestine (1934-36).

Father Bellarmino Bagatti visited the site in 1939 and found traces of the wall, two rooms and the perimeter wall of the Crusader fortress. He photographed the remaining fragments of the mosaics in the church.

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* The author is professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum – Jerusalem (Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology of the Pontifical University “Antonianum,” Rome)

 

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Oliveira Badawi, uma árvore com uma história milenar

Nas últimas décadas, Walajeh, pequena aldeia da Cisjordânia localizada ao sul de Jerusalém, na estrada que conduz a Belém, está passando por muitas mudanças devido à instabilidade geopolítica na região. Só esta oliveira parece ter preservado a sua existência inalterada por centenas, ou talvez milhares de anos.

A Gruta dos Sete Dormentes

Na Jordânia, um pouco a sueste de Amã, encontra-se Al Raqim. Na parede lateral deste outeiro suave situa-se uma antiga sepultura bizantina que se tornou um santuário islâmico. Este local celebra a fé incorruptível no único Deus e tem como referência uma antiga narrativa cristã, retomada em seguida pelo Alcorão. Trata-se da história dos Sete Dormentes. Vamos contá-la a vocês.

As árvores que fazem a história de Jerusalém

Símbolos de uma vida doada por Deus Criador, na Bíblia são citadas 22 espécies de árvores. Em Jerusalém, as árvores antigas são testemunhas da Escritura e algumas delas foram catalogadas pela associação israelense Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Fundo Nacional Hebraico. Pensemos nas oliveiras do Getsêmani. Mas há também outras árvores em lugares significativos da cidade.

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