Leaving Christ’s Tomb and the Holy Land, and Becoming Guardians of the Tomb
This past Friday (March 14, 2014), our group of 50 OCN pilgrims departed from the Holy Land and returned to our homes in the United States. I had the opportunity to interview many of the pilgrims and ask them their reflections from the trip. Their insights are reflected below, together with their pictures from many Holy sites.
The trip, led by Father Chris and Father Steve, left an indelible mark on all of us, one that inspires us and compels us to share our insights with you. On the last few days of our trip, we visited the Holy City, the site of the 14 Stations of the Cross – the way that Christ was forced to walk on Holy Friday as He made His way from his mock trial before Pontius Pilate to Golgotha, the “Place of the Skull,” outside the Judgment Gate, where He was crucified. If you would like to follow along to where we visited, we invite you to read in the Pilgrimage Book about the 14 Stations:
1. Jesus is condemned to death.
2. Jesus is made to carry the Cross.
3. Jesus falls the first time.
4. Jesus meets His sorrowful Mother.
5. Simon of Cyrene helps carry the Cross.
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
7. Jesus falls the second time.
8. Jesus speaks to the Women of Jerusalem.
9. Jesus falls the third time.
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments.
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
12. Jesus dies on the Cross.
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
14. Jesus is placed in the tomb.
When you visit these stations, you become overwhelmed with proof of Biblical events and the profoundness of Christ’s message and his Love for us. You arrive at a deeper understanding of the Journey of Faith and the requirement for us to lead.
Over our 9-day journey, we met many of the Guardians of the Tomb – a group comprising Greek Orthodox priests and nuns – who are committed to preserving the Original teachings of Christ, so that we and others can share them with you. Their intensity, passion, and strength is palpable. The sites they protect are one breath away from being lost, and they know that.
You will recognize the symbol of the ‘Guardians of the Tomb’ in many of the photos that I have included here.
As we kick off the 2014 year for the Orthodox Christian Network, we invite you to give your feedback, to share your suggestions, to bring a friend online to join you, to volunteer, to learn more about our business plan, to get excited…and in a nutshell, to make a contribution in any form that allows us to improve, and allows more to experience the Journey of Faith and become Guardians of the Tomb.