The Templar Knight

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The spooky crypt in a Portuguese Franciscan church

Igreja de São Francisco – or the church of Saint Francis in English – is  a fascinating place. In the first quarter of the 13th century, Franciscans started to build a church and cloister. Over the next two hundred years,…

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The town where Jesus lived in Israel and the River Jordan

I thought this town was spelt Capurneum but it’s Capharnaum.  There are some ruins from the era of Christ but most of what you see is late Roman and was destroyed in an eighth century CE earthquake.  One of the…

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The birthplace of John the Baptist

Today I visited the birthplace of John the Baptist as part of my journey to Israel. The Franciscan monastery at Ein Karem – a village now swallowed up by Jerusalem – is a nineteenth century construction sitting on top of…

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Christians who sought martyrdom from Muslims

These days, it’s commonly assumed that martyrdom for religious reasons is a feature of the radical end of Islam but it was once very much part of Christianity. I found one example in a Portuguese church of Franciscan friars who…

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