Basilica of the Annunciation

An interesting footprint

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The Centre International Marie de Nazareth offers visitors a snapshot of the archaeological findings beneath the footprint of their building. Iron Age remains are visible as well as a domestic installations from the NT period.

Today we made a new friend in Jean-Pierre. He helped our group understand these ruins as well as the ministry of the Chemin Neuf community.

The Centre International is located just across the street (and uphill slightly) from the main entrance to the Basilica of the Annuncation. The archaeological presentation as well as a splendid rooftop view to the Basilica may be enjoyed for a donation. Learn more from their website here.

I recommend both if you are in town.


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If you or someone you know is interested in experiencing the Land of the Bible in a new way, consider joining one of our trips scheduled for 2020 or 2021! These educational experiences operate as part of the ministry of the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. Find a trip that works with your schedule by clicking the link here or contact me directly at markziese@gmail.com. We are currently working on group reservations for 2022.

A Nazarene James

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Inside the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel, one finds a parade of nations. Contributions of mosaic art cast the image of the Madonna and child in personalized and nationalized ways. The Japanese Mary wears a kimono. The Chilean Jesus is portrayed with dark skin with snowy mountains in the background. It is quite interesting.

Yesterday I studied the contribution of Spain. I saw Mary holding a child. Above Mary was a banner with the words, TU ERES EL HONOR DE NUESTRO PUEBLO, "You are the honor of our people." No surprises there.

But below the Madonna were details I previously overlooked. On the column beneath the Madonna was the cross of St James, or the "Santiago Cross." The connection between this Madonna on a pillar and the Spanish church at Zaragoza is huge (read more about it here).

Beside the pillar is a kneeling figure sporting a brown robe. He has a cockle shell pinned to his chest and in his hands is a hooked walking staff. On the hook dangles the familiar water gourd. It is St James the Greater, the patron saint of Spain, depicted as the pilgrim.

With our 500-mile trek across Spain just around the corner, I am excited to learn more about these symbols of identity. Some have been around me regularly; I just wasn't looking for them.

The more you look the more you see.


Intrepid travelers who desire a more intimate view to the landscape featured in the gospels should consider walking across Galilee on the Jesus Trail, January 8-16, 2019. Vehicle support is provided and will return the group each night to a hotel. Contact me directly at markziese@gmail.com. The trip is priced from New York at $2,588. See itinerary here.