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
November 21, 235 (traditional date): Anterus is elected pope, a position he would hold for only a few weeks. According to the Liber pontificalis, he was martyred for ordering the "acts of the martyrs" to be written down and put in the church library.
November 21, 1620: Pilgrims sign the Mayflower Compact, a typical church covenant of the time (see issue 41: The American Puritans).
November 21, 1638: A General Assembly at Glasgow abolishes the episcopal form of church government and establishes presbyterianism, creating the Church of Scotland (see issue 46: John Knox).
November 21, 1768: Friedrich E.D. Schleiermacher, a hugely influential, liberal, German theologian and philosopher, is born in Breslau. The author of On Religion and The Christian Faith, he placed a strong emphasis on feeling as the basis of religion.
November 21, 1964: The third session of Vatican II closes with the approval of three documents. One of these, the "Decree on Ecumenism," declared both Catholics and Protestants to blame for past divisions and called for dialogue, not derision, in the future.
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