Monastery of the Tempatation – Jericho

The sherut took us through the West Bank to the base of the Mount of Temptation. The Mount of Temptation rises above Jericho and boasts a monastery carved onto the side of its cliff (1, 2, 4, 5). The mountain is believed to be where Christ fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and was where he was offered all the kingdoms in the world as a temptation by the Devil (22). The monastery was built in the 6th century by the Byzantines and is now a Greek Orthodox Church that houses a single monk.

A short 30 min hike (we could also have taken a cable car) from the base led us straight into the church. The monastery is extremely impressive: It is cut straight into the cliff, which is exposed in some regions (13-16), and follows a linear path through a cave (17, 18) leading into the church. Inside the church we walked onto the balcony (19-21) and could see the sheer drop down, each of us debating whether or not angels would come and save us if we fell. The chapel itself is ornately decorated (23-25), although some parts did not seem finished (28). At the end of a chapel was a small flight of stairs that led to a small bright room with a rock (26), the supposed spot where Jesus was tempted. Outside the chapel is a small grotto leading deeper into the mountain (30, 31), where Christ fasted during his meditation.

The Monastery of Temptation is one of my favorite churches in the Middle East because of its distinct remoteness. It’s interesting to see if that someone really wants to, they can put a church anywhere, even straight into the side of a cliff.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on February 27, 2011.

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