Nazareth – 13. Easter service at the Basilica

I didn’t find  anyone from the youth hostel who wanted to head into town that evening, so after an afternoon of looking around shops and reading a book in the lobby, I headed out and saw lots of people flocking towards the Basilica church.

This was the service for Easter Friday.


The outside of church seems very busy…

Inside, the place was packed!  all of the seats were taken, and people were in all of the aisles and blocking the door.
The surprising thing is the vast majority of people appeared to be young Arab Christians under 30 for the service, no foreigners as far as I could see.  I have no idea what was spoken in the service as it was all in Arabic.

A statue of Jesus was brought out of the service at the end.

Outside there were lots of people who couldn’t get in the service, they seem very friendly and most spoke English, a lot of the Arab Christians had non-Arabic sounding names, ie: Simon.Musicians where getting together for a parade outside..  Hang on surely, these aren’t bagpipes??

Whats this?  Its the flag of Christian Arab scouts of Nazareth.

The scouts are getting ready to do their bagpipe playing at the end of the Easter service!   Actually an Arab friend of mine told me that bagpipes are not that uncommon in the Middle East, there are bagpipe players in Jordan who play for the King there.   Maybe the Arabs are wannabe Scots or perhaps during the British Mandate of Palestine period, Scotland influenced people then? 🙂

The statue is taken on a tour around the city.

So was the Easter service a nice yearly social knees-up or the were the mostly young Arab Christians there praising the Lord on the weekend of his resurrection in the very town where Jesus spent his youth?   I am not sure but this was an enjoyable end to my trip to Nazareth, and despite only 15% of the town being Christian it was good that Easter was celebrated (actually there were no chocolate eggs for sale anywhere)  and this didn’t seem like a big show for tourists as there simply weren’t any around the town.

Seems like the modern day people of Nazareth are proud of their city.

1. Arrival at the city2. Staying in the old city3. The modern day Nazarene carpenter4. Where Jesus first preached5. Religious vehicles in Nazareth6. Mary’s Well and the Bath house7. The precipice8. On top of the Precipice hill9. More old city streets and market10. The spice shop11. Churches from A to Z or Alpha to Omega12. The Basilica church13. Easter service at the Basilica

Easter Sunday – Resurrection day at the tomb

My phone woke me up at 4.45am today on Easter Sunday morning, a silly time indeed, but I needed to leave just after 5 to get to the other end of the city for a special event with people churches all over the city starting at 06.00.

Lots of people are queuing outside….

Looks like people lining up for the sales (sunday is a regular work day in Israel) or going to a concert of some kind….

Aha, its starting to become clear now….

This was a special place to celebration of Jesus’ resurrection at the very place mostly likely to have been buried, but most definitely risen!

Really good service from a speaker I have not heard from before, and some great worship music from my (King of Kings) congregation.

It did mean that that leader speaking, the worship band and the tomb itself were hidden from view as there were bushes and trees in front of where I was sitting thought!   I would have a guess that there was about 2000 people crammed into the garden.  About half of the people I would guess are Christian tourists on a short holiday,with the remainder being Israeli believers and foreign Christians like me volunteering in the land.

Finally a quick glimpse of the tomb itself as people are leaving.

This was a memorable day to spend Easter Sunday.  I missed this service last year as I didn’t wake up in time!!

Funnily enough, two years ago I was working for an Israeli software company in Southampton UK, there we were given a chocolate egg by our bosses as an Easter present!  Also Pesach was mentioned as well as the Jewish holiday is the week before Easter.

Next: My journey to Nazareth and Cana to see Jesus’ childhood