louis

15 Apr 2016 314 views
 
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photoblog image Shepherd fields
Shepherd fields|

Shepherd fields

 

This picture was taken from a Franciscan Sanctuary at the outskirts of Bethlehem. This is the general area, where it is said that the angels announced the birth of Jesus Christ, to the shepherds.

 

Luke 2 : 8 - 11: And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Shepherds were not really nice people back in those times and they were shunned by the Jews. There were various reasons for this - apart from being smelly, no education, doing the lowliest work in a village; they were not very trustworthy.  Hence the words in Luke 2:17  "And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them."


The Sanctuary has a lot of archaelogical diggings, within its walls. During excavations the remains of a farming settlement dating back to the 1st century AD (with an oil press, grottoes and vault lined with burial niches) and a Byzantine monastery (church, courtyards, cisterns, bakery, rooms with mosaics) which flourished between the 4th and 8th centuries AD were found. This picture gives an idea of the fields where sheep grazed, back there in the background and some of the archaelogical findings in the foreground.

 

There are lots of grottoes in the area and within the walls. The Franciscans made chapel style churches of some of them. These grottoes may be reserved for religious purposes. There is also a commemorative building, referred to as the Sanctuary on the property. The Sanctuary, designed by Barluzzi, stands on a rock overlooking the ruins. It has a dodecagonal shape with five apses having an inclined plane, recalling the structure of a field tent like the one used by the shepherds at that time.

 

Some visitors take it literally that this is the spot where the angels appeared. About a kilometre away, there is a Greek Orthodox equivalent of this commemorative place.

 

 

 

comments (14)

This series continues to amaze me...
Louis: The total experience was amazing to me, too, Elizabeth.
  • Ray
  • United States
  • 15 Apr 2016, 04:09
Hmmmm! Not the most photogenic of places these days, Louis...perhaps if you photoshopped in a few angels...
Louis: Well, I did try to convey the bleakness of it all. The angels are up on Monday smile
  • Chris
  • England
  • 15 Apr 2016, 06:56
As someone brought up in the Christian tradition I find this fascinating Louis
Louis: Thank you Chris. The experience fascinating as well.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 15 Apr 2016, 07:09
Oh, I see flocks of sheep!
Louis: No sheep, Philine, only limestone rocks - which covers a great part of Israel.
Another fascinating episode Louis. I did not know that shepherds were such as you describe. I always think of them as pure clear eyed children dressed up with tea towels on their heads like in school nativity plays.
Louis: One can easily fall into, what I refer to as the Hallmark traps. Truth is that the shepherds lived with the sheep.
Are they shepherds' sheep flocks on the hill side Louis? Fascinating image!
Louis: Thank you Richard. There are only limestone rocks on those hills.
Strange how there can be so many authentic places for each event.
Louis: At least, this lot didn't claim that 'x' marks the spot. They are just commemorating some event that occurred in the general area. Tourists, on the other hand, make up their own story. Your comment does apply to a number of other places.
What an interesting place. Our minister at church has more than once over the Christmas period described the shepherds in the same way you have.
Louis: Thank you Brian. When one studies the time of Jesus on earth, one (at least I did) realise how much all of His ministry had to do with those who most needed it. Shepherds, fishermen, sick, etc had been involved, as opposed to the Pharisees and those people who lived as if they had it made for themselves.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 15 Apr 2016, 15:35
Ils ont beaucoup de place pour manger
Louis: Les brebis vivaient dans les champs, entretenue par les bergers. Les propriétaires de moutons a vécu dans la ville, où il était moins dangereux.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 15 Apr 2016, 15:48
It all looks very bleak, Louis
Louis: It does, I agree, Lisl.
  • blackdog
  • United Kingdom
  • 15 Apr 2016, 18:22
If the angels were to come back today they would have a shock!
Louis: They will have to watch out for the traffic, blackdog.
this series is wonderful Louis... it took time for you to research each of the places that you presented here...
the land in this image looks like it has been worked for much more than two thousand years... so much history....petersmile
Louis: History and archaeology holds a lot of interest for me, peter. Thank you.
It doesn't look very sheep friendly Louis.
Louis: Sheep are not everyday animals. In SA they do very well in the arid areas, Bill.
It has a very early photography feel to it.
Louis: That is the direction my conversion went, Tom. Thank you.

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