Israel known as the Holy Land is home to many famous churches that are scattered around the country. Here are ten churches featured that are important Holy Land pilgrimage attractions, including the most important of them all, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is filled with visitors during peak holiday months in Easter and Christmas, however is worth the visit for it’s unique architectural beauty, amazing history, and significance place in the Christian world as the place of crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
1. Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Location: Jerusalem, Old City
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre , or the Church of Resurrection is a basilica located in the Christian Quarter in Old Jerusalem. The church is the traditional site of where Jesus was crucified, the place known as “Golgotha” or “Calvary,” and the place of Jesus’ empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. The church has been an essential Christian Israel tour destination since the fourth century, and is the holiest Christian site in the world.
2. Church of the Nativity
The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest surviving churches in the world and perhaps the oldest continuously used church. The complex of the church which also includes the Church of St. Catherine and the Grotto of the Nativity is a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO. The church is constructed over the cave that marks the celebrated birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth.
3. Church of the Annunciation
Location: Galilee, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation , also the Basilica of the Annunciation, is a Catholic church in Nazareth, in the Galilee region. It was built over the site where the Christian tradition holds to be the house of Virgin Mary, and where angel Gabriel appeared and gave the news to Mary that she would conceive and bear the Son of God, Jesus – the Gospel event known as the Annunciation; "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus." (Luke 1: 30-31). Because of this reason, the church and the city of Nazareth are among the most sacred Holy Land destinations visited by Christian Pilgrims in the world.
4. Church of the Beatitudes
Location: Galilee, Tabgha
The Church of the Beatitudes , also known as the Beatitude Monastery is a Catholic church located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee near Tabgha and Capernaum. The general area of the church is where its believed Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, Christians touring the Holy Land have been commemorating the site since the 4th century, and is also where Jesus is said to have uttered such phrases as “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God.”
5. Church of All Nations
Location: Jerusalem, Mount of Olives
The Church of All Nations, or the Basilica of the Agony is a Catholic Church located on the Mount of Olives, adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane. The church enshrines a section of bedrock where traditions says Jesus prayed before his arrest (Mark 14:32-42). From the bible; Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:36-39.
6. St. Peter's Church, Capernaum
Location: Galilee, Capernaum
The St. Peter's Church , also known as the Pilgrimage Church of St. Peter is a modern Catholic church found in the archaeological site of Capernaum, in the Galilee. The church is managed by the Franciscan order in Capernaum.
7. The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter
Location: Galilee, Tabgha
The Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter , also know as Mensa Domini Church is a modest Franciscan church situated in Tabgha steps away from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The church traditionally marks the spot of Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter (John 21) after a fish breakfast on the shores of the lake.
8. St. Peter's Catholic Church, Jaffa
Location: Tel-Aviv, Old Jaffa
In the center of Jaffa's Old City, St. Peter’s Catholic church is dedicated to Peter's raising Tabitha from the dead, which is said to have occurred in Jaffa. With roots from the 16th Century, the 19th Century building features a stunning vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, and marble walls. St. Peter's Church provides Mass in English, Spanish, Polish and Hebrew, and is open to the public daily. Most Christian Holy Land tour programs begin with a visit to Jaffa, and a stop at St. Peter's church is a must do.
9. Church of the Transfiguration
Location: Mount Tabor
The Church of the Transfiguration is a Catholic church situated on Mount Tabor. It is traditionally believed to be the location where the Transfiguration of Christ took place (Matthew 17:2), an event in the Gospels in which Jesus is transfigured upon a mountain and speaks with Moses and Elijah. The church was built in 1924 on top of earlier Byzantine and Crusader churches.
10. Church of the Multiplication
The Church of the Multiplications of the Loaves and Fishes located in Tabgha by the Sea of Galilee, is an identical replica of the 4th century basilica built to commemorate the miracle of feeding five thousand mentioned in the Gospel by Mark 6:30-44. The church displays stunning restored mosaics from the 56th century, the most famous depicting two fish and a basket of bread, representing the miracle at this location. Also featured inside the church is a slab of limestone said to be the rock on which Jesus miracle took place, and a beautiful mosaic floor with different flora and fauna and figures such as the two cuddling ducks. The current church is no more than 100 years old, but it has maintained a look true to its original Byzantine-era roots.