Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus
  Archeological Excursion


24 April 2016, STS – Jerusalem
By Adam Dupré, SDB

On 21 April 2016 the students of STS – Jerusalem, set out on their final Archeological Excursion of the year. For this excursion the students and staff members went to four different places.  In the morning they travelled to Neot Kedumim, a nature preserve that has many plants, flowers and trees from biblical times.  In the afternoon the students and staff travelled to Lod, to the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and from there made their way to Emmaus Nicopolis and finally to a Cistercian monastery close to Emmaus.

At Neot Kedmim, the students and staff were led by a local guide and her two grandchildren throughout a portion of the park. The guide was very knowledgeable and shared stories of the park and how people in biblical times lived off the fruit and produce the plants offered. The students had the opportunity to gather different grains and process them in the same way the people in biblical times would have.

After a break for lunch, the STS –Jerusalem group continued by bus to Lod, located just outside of Tel- Aviv adjacent to Ben Gurion Airport.  There, the group visited the Greek Orthodox Church where St. George is buried. St. George is a martyr of the 4th century. He was a Christian who fought in the Roman Army but was killed by his fellow soldiers when he revealed that he was a Christian. He was a guard of the Emperor Diocletian who objected to the Emperor’s edict that all Christians in the Army should be arrested and were to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. George objected very publically and declined the Emperor’s offers of titles and land and was ultimately sentenced to death.

After the visit to Lod, the group travelled to Emmaus Nicopolis, most famous for its mention in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24, where Jesus encounters two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus. Emmaus offered a very strategic point in the area for military and economic means. It is first mentioned in the 1st book of Maccabees in chapters 3-4, when Judas Maccabee is at war with the Greeks. Christians first began venerating at this location during the Crusades. In 1837, due to a dream of St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, the place of Emmaus was revealed to the Carmelite nuns who bought the land from its Muslim owners. They began to excavate it and found the remains of an ancient city.

The last visit of the day was to the Trappist Abbey of Latrun.   Latrun has a very significant geographical place in biblical history. Its first appearance is in the book of Joshua 10: 1-11. Joshua leads the Israelites in a battle against the Amorites and is victorious. Later in the 1st book of Maccabees, Judas Maccabee sets his camp in Latrun in preparation for the attack on Emmaus where the Greeks were encamped. Today, the Trappist monks have established an abbey there and run a winery and gift shop.

This archeological excursion was one to remember. Our brothers of the third year completed their program of Archeological Excursions necessary for their diplomas and degree.  Also, in the tradition of the STS – Jerusalem, the students and staff enjoyed a nice ice cream break to mark the last archeological excursion of this academic year.


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