Day 5, a Sunday, started out with the choir checking out of their hotel in Jerusalem and boarding the bus for the trip to the Ascension Church, on the Mount of Olives, to sing and attend the Hierarchical services and pray that all will be well in the group’s second half of the day. The trip to Nazareth.
On the road to Nazareth there are other sites to see, too. The group stopped at the scenic overlook from where one can see the valley where Armageddon is and where the Final Judgement will be passed.
The town of Nazareth, the city where Jesus spent the first 12 years of his life, is built into a mountain which climbs high above the Jezreel valley below. Nazareth is known as the “Arab capital of Israel” and most of them are Christian, although the Muslim and Jewish faiths, too, are well-represented and everyone lives peacefully together.
Once in Nazareth, the group saw some of the ancient sites there including the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation and it’s beautiful interior and iconostasis. It is situated near the Catholic Church of the Annunciation where Archangel Gabriel was said to have descended to announce to the Virgin Mary that She will bear the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
Towards the evening the choir arrived at the Church of Christ the Adolescent. A Salesian Catholic church built on top of one of Nazareth’s hills overlooking the city. It is the only church in the world named as such, although the pastor did mention another is in planning to be built.
It is here the choir will perform the “All-Night Vigil” for the second and last time on this Holy Land adventure. The church is an incredible juxtaposition of sights. Walking in you see a cavernous, white stone interior with high vaulted ceilings. Turn around to the entrance and you’ll see a magical view of Nazareth and the valley below.
The choir began the performance just after 7pm, local time, and there was an good showing of visitors and locals. Of course, His Grace Bishop Theodosy and His Grace Bishop Nicholas were with the choir, too. The performance was wonderful and the cathedral’s acoustics gave their sound a deep and rich color. Maestro Antonenko showed the same grace and control in leading the group tonight as she did in Jerusalem.
The performance was extremely well-received and most all of the audience was enthralled. It culminated in an short encore that further excited the crowd who gave the ensemble, Ms. Antonenko and soloists Evgeny Kachurovsky and Igor Morozov a tremendous ovation.
After the performance it was back on the road again to the Sea of Galilee. The performances being complete, it was time for the group to become pilgrims and travel to the Holy Sites there.