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Religious Routes And Sites


St. George's Monastery

Situated in the village of Al-Khader, a short distance out of the town of Beit Jala, St. George's Monastery can be reached through Hebron-Bethlehem Road. You will recognize the village entrance by the large free-standing archway with a depiction of St. George on it. Following the road almost to the end of the village, and passing some of the grapevines for which the village is famous, you will be guided by the silver dome. Like several monasteries whose priest is the only Christian inhabitant in the village, the Muslim population is attached to it, waiting all year for the Feast of St. George on May 5 and 6, when the monastery and the old streets surrounding it will come to life and the bridle of St. George’s horse will be passed over the bodies of visitors to prevent or cure mental illness. This is one of the powers for which St. George is well known and until the end of the 19th century there used to be a house for the mentally ill that was connected to the monastery.  In fact, St. George or El Khader, “the rain-bringer” is a symbol of the long shared Muslim/Christian religious heritage of the Bethlehem area. His name “Khader” or “green” refers to fertility and tradition indicates that barren women went to visit the monastery and pray for St. George in order to become pregnant.