Religious Routes And Sites
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Mar Elias Monastery And Church

Coming into Bethlehem from Jerusalem, you pass the Mar Elias Monastery on the right, located 4 kilometers to the north of the center of Bethlehem. Originally founded in the sixth century, it was rebuilt by Emperor Manuel Comnenus in 1160 after a destructive earthquake. Elias is associated with the prophet Elija, and the monastery is said to stand on the site where St. Elijah rested on his flight from the vengeance of Jezebel. Opposite St. Elijah's Monastery is a stone seat, erected by Edith, wife of William Holman Hunt, the great Pre-Raphaelite painter, who spent many years in Palestine, and near this spot painted his great religious pictures “The Light of the World” and “The Scapegoat.” Inscribed on the seat are verses from the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, English and Arabic. The Greek Orthodox Church now owns this monastery. The Feast of Mar Elias takes place every year on August 2.