Monday, August 6, 2012

i want to hold your hand

11 July 2012, pt. 2
After our Christian Quarter field trip, some of us stayed out in the city for a bit longer. 
First we visited the Church of the Redeemer and went up the tower that overlooks the entire old city. This is a very prominent tower in the city, you can see it from everywhere:
Then we went and ate lunch at the rooftop restaurant.
One of the shopkeepers thought that Nate and I were married and when we informed him that sadly, we are not, he encouraged us to get married because we look real good together and would have a beautiful family. So we played along for a bit. I think I was more into it than Nate was. 
The three of us are pretty close. Sometimes Nate and I hold hands with each other to see how long we can hold hands until the other one feels all awkward and forces the let go. It's a great game. I think our record is about 20 seconds. 
We had a great view, too:
After that, we went on a tour in the Jewish Quarter to the Hurva Synagogue. I was too tired to pay attention to anything, which is unfortunate. It was a neat place. 
At least I got some good model shots, if nothing else:
Up here in this room, it was completely circular and you could hear people on the other side whispering. So we had a lot of fun with that. Or at least I did. 
Jewish men with their leather straps and phylacteries. 
I got to really demonstrate my talents in the art of displaying. While the guide was speaking some important words, I held up some pictures for him. I think all those years of watching The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune really paid off:
Some cool windows outside the synagogue: 
Yes, I was in the mood for posing today. It's a rare occurrence, but there it is. 

different names for the same thing

11 July 2012
Christian Quarter field trip: 
We started the day going through New Gate to the Custodia Terrae Sancta, a Roman Catholic complex, operated by the Franciscan Order (which since 1342 has has a papal mandate to operate and maintain Catholic Holy sites in the Holy Land). 
The main church of the Custodia is St. Savior's, whose tall roof and bell tower are a landmark in the Old City.  It is a relatively new church, by Jerusalem standards. Built in the Baroque style, it has been renovated a few times and it serves not only the Franciscan brothers but also the local Arab parish.
Priscilla is real good at capturing those creeper/candid shots of me:
After, we received a brief tour by Father Molina, who also took us to the tailor shop where habits for the order are made.  This oldest section of the Custody used to be a hostel for Christian pilgrims, and it is believed that LDS pilgrim Orson Hyde stayed here, perhaps carving his name into the wood of a door frame like so many other pilgrims.
Next we went to St. Mark's, a small church and the seat of the Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Jerusalem. They believe their church was built on the site of the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark (the traditional author of the gospel of Mark), which also means that this would have been the site of the Last Supper. Many of them still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and His first disciples. 

We were hosted by Sister Justina, an Iraqi Christian who left her home and her home and career as a math teacher to come to Jerusalem to serve in what the Syrian Orthodox believe is the first church in Christianity, the place where the Last Supper was held and then where the Holy Spirit descended upon the church at Pentecost.  She told us the history of the church, shared stories of miracles that had occurred there, and sang for us Psalm 150 in Aramaic. Then she let us go "to the church down," the basement room that contains the remnants of what the Syrians believe was Mary' house.  There we read from Mark 14 and Acts 2.
Then we made our way to Alexander NevskyPlanning originally to be a hostel for Russian pilgrims, they began construction, only to find significant archaeological remains.  These are preserved below and to the east of the sanctuary that they eventually built here as part of a larger complex.  This church is named after the Russian saint Alexander Nevsky, the patron of the Czar Alexander who was ruling Russia at the time.
One of the remains is the triumphal gateway into the Temple of Venus complex built in A.D. 135 by the emperor Hadrian when he re-built Jerusalem as a Roman city. It is believed that the Venus temple was built here to coup the holy site of the Christians, namely where they had been commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  
Nearby are the remnants of the earlier Herodian Wall,  giving evidence for where the course of the wall was in the time of Jesus.  In this wall are the remnants of a city gate, called The Gate of Judgment and believed to be the one through which Jesus passed on his way to Jerusalem.  Just to the side of the gateway is a narrow slot that some have tried to argue is the "Eye of the Needle" to which Jesus referred in the Synoptic story of the Rich Young Man. All of these remnants support the traditional claim of the Holy Sepulchre to be the site at least of the crucifixion, and the original church complex built by Constantine extended at least this far.
The threshing stone. If this was the place of execution, just outside this gate, Jesus would have crossed over this on his way to Golgotha: 

We then went to the Church of the Holy Seplechure, but I'll talk about that in a bit. Lastly, we went to St. John's chapel:

They didn't take out "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in their hymnal. 
 During the Crusader Period, the area all around the Holy Sepulchre was occupied by Western European churches and complexes.  Among them was the compound of the Order of St. John Hospitaler, which provided lodging and hospital care for pilgrims.  Their church, St. Mary of the Latins, was also in this area.  The current name, "Muristan," is Persian for hospital and recalls what used to be here.  St. Mary's of the Latins was destroyed, but part of the complex, a monastic cloister,  is preserved next to the relatively new Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. And this is just right off of St. John's chapel.
So that was it for our field trip, but we wanted to stay out in the city for a bit longer with some of the kids in Harper's class, so we found out that they were still in the Church of the Holy Seplechure, so a few of us went and joined their class for the end of their field trip. (Plus, Bro. Harper is so good and we might have been suffering a bit from separation anxiety.)
I've been to the Church multiple times, but I don't think I've adequately given all the deets. So here we go. Here's our class just outside the entrance:
Clergy from competing churches share this church. A "status quo" agreement does not allow any changes in the arrangements that have existed for over a century and a half, so this ladder had remained against the window ever since:
As soon as you walk in, this is what you first see, usually with large crowds of people on their knees kissing and rubbing the stone. This is the stone where they believed that jesus was laid, anointed, and wrapped just after he was crucified:
As soon as you go in, on your right you can go up the stairs to this spot where just underneath that there Greek orthodox alter is a rock where it is believed that the cross was put into the rock. 
Here is the best view of the rock of Golgotha:
Here is the Aedicule, or shrine, over the tomb, under the main dome:
Here's the entrance of the tomb:
And here's what it looks like inside:

In here, just off the main room are the icon stasis of the Catholicon, a Greek Orthodox place of worship:
Also noteworthy in the chapel of Adam, where his burial place is recognized, which I have blogged about before sometime.
Here's a brief history of this place: In the 2nd century, here stood a temple to Venus. Hadrian hated all things Christian destroyed it and built his own temple on top. In 325 Constantine ordered the temple to be destroyed and then build a church on top of it. This church was built as two connected churched over the two different holy sites found by Constantine's mother, the crucifixion and burial place of Christ. 
This building was destroyed by fire in 614 when the Persians invaded Jerusalem and stole the cross. In 630, Heraclius restored the True Cross to the rebuilt Church of the Holy Seplechure. 
In 1009, Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered destruction of the church as part of his campaign to destroy Christian places of worship in Palestine and Egypt. The pillars and pavement are now the only remains of the 4th century building:
Older pillars, and later newer pillars of the reconstruction. 
Later the church was allowed to be rebuilt in 1048. Then there's a lot of hoopla about crusaders and who gets ownership. 
This post is long enough. So the rest of the day will be up and coming. Hope you enjoyed your history lesson. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

two thousand years

10 July 2012:
We had classes in the morning and then a few of us went out to go to the Rockefeller Museum just up the hill on the corner. Turns out it's closed only on Tuesdays. So we winged it, just went into the Old City for a bit, spent some time at the Church of Christ by Jaffa Gate, bought some gummies, headed home. 
That evening we went to the Kotel tunnel. They split us up into three groups instead of our normal two, and so both the classes were intermixed and it was great. Who knew mixing up the people you were with for a field trip could be so fun? Not me. 
The Kotel Tunnel is where excavations were done beneath the neighborhoods to expose the western wall. As is always the case in this country, they just build things on top of one another, so underneath the city is the ancient city. It's kind of cool, thinking about walking around the old city, imagining all the things that could be beneath you. 
At this part of the western wall, we can see ashlars, which are this crazy huge stones they used to built up the temple walls two thousand years ago. No one is completely sure on how they even moved the stones, but the largest one found in the picture below. In that middle section, that is one solid piece of stone, 41 feet long, and estimated to weigh about 600 tons. They didn't use any mortar, but you can see all the holes carved out that would help the stability of the stones stacked one on top of the other.
As we went further down the tunnel, we passed by Jews praying to the wall:
And here we can see Michael Peterson modeling this lovely pillar in the depths of the tunnel. This pillar is the real deal, you could say. Further evidence of the 2000 year old city underneath a city.
Emily and me right outside the Kotel Tunnel, by the Western Wall:
I had to capture this picture because a friend pointed out that I should take notice to all the Jews when they walk. They always have their briefcase in hand, and they are always in a hurry. And pretty much that's a fact.

she's beauty and she's grace

On the evening of the 9th, for fhe we had our very own first lady pageant. 
Our class President, Ian Phillip Brendan Baenziger was a lonely man in search for greater happiness, a happiness only a woman could fill. Only the right girl could fill the emptiness within his soul. 
So we rallied up 10 worthy contestants, fight for the chance to prove their worthiness as Ian's very own (and the JC's first) First Lady. 
Not surprisingly, all 3 of my roommates were in the running. I prepped them hard as we curled hair and picked out outfits. I was the pageant mom. And I'm going to take full responsibility for their success. So here is how well they represented me themselves:
First were introductions. Here's Emily:
The Judges (David Burbidge, Camilla, and Blake):
We had a questionnaire round, seeing who knew Ian best:
A rousing round of dodgeball to test the physical strength of the women:
Then the judges eliminated 5 girls, and out of the 5 that remained, all 3 of my roommates were still in the running. Get 'em 411. 
Next was a bed making round:
And after some more eliminations, 2 of my 3 roommates made it to the final round:
Then they were all grilled by the judges:
Sometimes they were joyous:
And when it came down to the final vote, our very own Rachel Messick won the title as First Lady. She had it in the bag from her opening speech she recited the speech Dwight gives in The Office when he wins his award as best salesman. It didn't hurt that she included in her response to the judge's question a comparison of Ian to Baklava. 
My lovely roommates, and the woman who single handedly got them to where they are today.