Along with Gabriel's Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:26-38), her Visitation to Elizabeth (1:39-56), and Jesus' birth and infancy (2:7,16; Matthew 2:11), one other biblical scene depicting the mother of Jesus is especially prominent in the history of Christian ...
Only in the Holy Land can you celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection in the place where it happened. The fourth-century pilgrim Egeria described the Holy Week services in Jerusalem: "What I admire and value most is that all the hymns and antiphons and readings, and all the prayers that the bishops say, are always relevant to the day which is being observed and to the place in which they are used." Today, much like in Egeria's era, thousands of Christians observe Good Friday by following the "Via Dolorosa"—the traditional route Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion—from the Mount of Olives to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The route and rituals have changed over the centuries, but the devotion has not. Jerusalem Christians' celebration of Easter influenced Christian worship around the world. The practice of following the "stations of the cross" is one example.
As Christians from all branches of the church today rediscover the ancient traditions of Christian spirituality, the literature of early Christian monasticism is a welcome voice in our conversation with the saints. Many sources are now available in accessible English translations, so enter into the world of men and women who forsook the expectations of their society to pray in the deserts of Palestine and Egypt. Primary sources predominate on the list below, but each translation is accompanied by useful introductions and commentaries by top scholars. Enjoy!
Take the quiz ... then explore the history. In addition to the Holidays section of our archives, you can find Easter-related content in several past issues of Christian History & Biography: Issue 97: The Holy Land, Issue 83: Mary in the Imagination of the Church, and Issue 59: The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth
May 7, 1274: The Second Council of Lyons convenes with the goal of reunifying the Roman and Greek churches. Orthodox delegates agreed to recognize the papal claims and recite the Creed with the filioque clause, but the union was fiercely rejected by the majority of Orthodox clergy and laity fiercely rejected the union (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy)
May 7, 1605: Russian prelate Nikon, patriarch of Moscow and the head of the Russian church, is born in Valdemanovo. When he tried to reform the church in 1642, a schism erupted, and the church deposed and banished him (see issue 18: Christianity in Russia).
May 7, 1833: German pianist and composer Johannes Brahms is born in Hamburg. Intensely religious, he wrote many works for the church though one never officially employed him. He even compiled the biblical texts for his "German Requiem" himself.
May 7, 1839: Hymnwriter and pastor Elisha A. Hoffman is born in Pennsylvania. His songs include "I Must Tell Jesus," "Down at the Cross," "Are You Washed in the Blood?" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
—John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople; sermon, ca. 400