Welcome to another video tour on Jerusalem
Tonight, we are joining a candle-lighting ceremony that marks the day SABBAS died almost 1500 years ago here in the Judea desert at the Mar Saba Monastery(532 BC).
The monastery, founded by SABBAS in the 5th century, is almost the only monastery that has been active continuously until today.
The monastery is on the west bank of the Kidron Valley, which starts in Jerusalem and runs to the Dead Sea. Today, this stream is mostly sewage water. Only during winter can we see flood water here.
Now, we see the monastery from the same spot but at night.
Here is a view of the monastery from the southeast, where we shall start our journey to the MarSaba monastery.
At the bottom right of the screen, you see someone walking at the same root that we shall walk.
So, let’s start our journey.

Commemorating the death of Sabbas

Each year, from December 17 to December 19, the monks at MarSabas, with the help of the local Bedouin, cover both banks of the Kidron valley with candles.
This tradition started about 60 years ago, after the return of the body of Sabbas from Venice to this monastery. As you can see in this video, many people joined this ceremony in later years. Many of them bring their candles and light them here.
We have reached the bottom of the Kidron valley, and as I have told you before, sewage is mostly running here.
On our way to the monastery, we met a family who stopped to make coffee.

As we reach a higher spot, we can see a carpet of candlelights all over the valley. We also see flashlights used by people who are climbing both banks.
Again, this is what we see in daylight from where we are now and again at night.
Here is my friend Basam, a Bedouin who lives right next to the monastery, works closely with the monks, and sells hot coffee and other beverages to the visitors tonight. Some of them even arrived by bike.

Mar Saba Monastery

We are now proceeding toward the entrance of the monastery. Here is the gate with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch flag above it. Unfortunately, we can only get to the balcony next to the entrance.
Down there is the entrance to the main church, where the body of Sabbas is. Yes, a body at age 1500 years old.
Since we are in the desert, we can look at the sky and see blankets of stars.
We are starting our way back to the car that we left at the opposite bank.
At night, you can find some exciting things like this beautiful scorpion!
And now you can see me at the end of our tour.
As always, it was a wonderful experience. Let me know if you are in Israel, and we could visit the Mar Sabba monastery together. It is one of the most beautiful places in Israel.

That is for today, and until we meet in our next video, let’s live the Jerusalem Experience!