Tag Archives: legend

The Empress Helena and the Holy Cross

Constantine and his mother Helena

Constantine and his mother Helena

Hélèna, mother of the Emperor Constantine, lived in the shadows until the advent of her son, Constantine the Great, in the year of 306. She had had doubtful life in the past because of her  work as being as an inn servant, and later, when her husband Constance Chlore (father of Constantine) became empereur, he rejected her.

The rise of her son Constantine, however, gave her power which allowed her to return to the public life. Like Constantine, she converted to Christianity and lived an active apostolate of the new faith to better establish the Christian empire, still fragile in the fall of 324.

Staying at the imperial court of Treve (city made capital by Constantine until 316) then in Rome, she became a true follower of the new religion. As his power grew, her son proclaimed his mother “Augusta” Empress in year of 324.

It was as an empress that she left Rome to settle in Palestine (326-328). But this journey, under the guise of a pilgrimage, was rather made as a political aim of recognition of Christianity, as established by her son. With his support she had planned to established Christianity iin the Holy Land by finding the holy places. She was guided by the scholar Eusebius of Caesarea. She built the  “Church of the Disciples”, today called the “Pater Noster”, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The holy relics, including the cross of Christ were find on the site of Golgotha.

A temple at the site of the Golgotha (Calvary) was built, bearing the name of “Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher”, in which the relic has been preserved.

In the year 614, during the conquest of Jerusalem by the Persian king Chrosroës, the Holy Cross was stolen. The population was massacred, the prisoners were sold as slaves, churches were burnt. The Holy Cross (or True Cross) was taken to the heart of the Persian Empire and placed at the foot of the king’s throne, as a sign of disdain for Christianity.

This was to become the Grail of the Eastern Roman emperor Heraclius who, after 15 years of struggle, would achieve his ends. The True Cross was returned to Jerusalem on September 14, 628, carried by the emperor in person across the city of Jerusalem.

Therefore, this day is marked in liturgical calendars like that of the Exaltation of the Cross.

To avoid further theft, the Holy Cross was cut into several pieces. One was transported to Rome, one to Constantinople and the third one was placed in a silver chest in Jerusalem. Another piece was divided into very small pieces and distributed in churches around the world bearing the name of Veracruz (the real cross).

The Kabbala and the mystical City of Safed

 

Safed -Kabbalist drawing

Safed -Kabbalist drawing

The “Kabbalah” is a familiar name, whose meaning is not always understood. It is a speculative tradition, dealing with the mysteries of God and Creation.

The Kabbalah is an interpretation of the five books of the Bible, (“Torah” in Hebrew), namely Law, or Teaching, and which make up the Pentateuch, in particular from the text of the “Vision of Ezechiel”.

It is a tradition of Judaism that appears from the time of the Second Temple. It it is based on the Revelation. A gift concerning the Nature of man, his origin and his future, this covenant is created by God and the people of Israel, chosen by Him.

Kabbalists associate word and alphabet. The 22 letters of the alphabet were engraved by and in the divine breath.

The city of Tsfat, also called Safed, is located on Mount Canaan at over 900 meters above sea level, and is the city of Kabbalah. It is one of the four Holy Cities of Israel, together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias.

In 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella banned the practice of all religions other than Christianity, whereupon many Kabbalists and their followers fled to Safed.

It became a city renowned for its synagogues, with the names of Kabbalah scholars, some of whom lived in Safed. For example, Rabbi Isaac Louria, the Ari, who settled here in the 16th century. He developed a method how to study the Kabbalah, which is followed even today by all Kabbalists. His pupil Rabbi Joseph Karo wrote the book ” Choulhan Arouh ”, where the laws of Judaism are summarized by subject. Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz wrote the famous song with which the Shabbat begins: Leha Dodi.

To visit the Rabbi Abuhav’s Blue Synagogue is a delight. It is adorned with many symbols.

Inside a holy arch stands a sixteenth century Bible, which is taken out and read only on Yom Kippur, Shavuot and the Rosh Hashanah Holidays. The legend says, that if a person ignores this message, a misfortune will befall him within in the year.

The first letters of the three words: Kippur, Shavuot and Rosh Hashanah mean “Kasher” (kosher). It is also said, that in another holy arch, during the Ottoman period, the “Koran” was kept, a ploy that would have saved the synagogue from muslim attacks in times of tension ….

In this holy city, the mystical atmosphere is intertwined with many legends. Visitors enjoy the narrow passage in its alleys, surrounded by numerous colourful galleries of artists.

It is said that, when the Messiah will come from Meron, He will enter the Old City of Safed by “the path of the Messiah”, which has remained untouched until today.

Legend has it that the clean air of Safed allows a longevity of up to 120 years!

 

 

Safed - Abuhav street synagogue

Safed – Abuhav street synagogue

 

 

T

 

The King David Hotel in Jerusalem

The legendary King David Hotel in Jerusalem is no doubt the most famous hotel of this unique city. Its refinement and elegance unveil a glorious past.

Located on a hill, Hotel King David offers an incomparable view on the walls, minarets and domes of the Old City.

Opened in 1931, it has been badly damaged in 1946 by a fatal attack of the Irgun. Rebuilt and renovated, it is one of the luxury hotels of Israel.

20150430_092743

20150430_092949 20150430_093543 20150430_093631 20150430_092933

The Queen of Sheba

 

Visite de la Reine de Saba

Visite de la Reine de Saba

The Queen of Sheba was the ruler of a city somewhere in Ethiopia or Yemen. According to sources, she appears as a beautiful Queen endowed with great wisdom as well as a magician.

Some have called Makeda, other Balkis Yemen Baqama.

According to later writings, she would be called Neghesta-Azeb, Queen of the South.

The location of his real, far away, exotic kingdom has long remained an enigma.

In the Bible, she is named Sheba and also Queen of the South.

This sovereign had heard about the fame of King Solomon, son of King David.

Wanting to judge by herself the wisdom of this king, she went to Jerusalem “By the road of gold and incense,” accompanied by many servants and loaded with presents, to be offered at King Salomon in gesture of gratitude for his invitation.

Received with the highest honors in the newly designed palace of the king of Israel, Solomon gave her all the tribute due to a queen.

She was deeply impressed by the relevant answers to her questions, which confirmed his reputation for wisdom and exceeded what the Queen had previously heard.

However she tested  him by asking the following question :

She brought seven boys and seven girls all dressed and styled in the same way. Nothing could distinguish them. She asked King Solomon to separate males from females. The King brought a big Banaste for the children  filled with dried fruits and sweets and he invited them to eat as much as they wanted.

                All the boys used their tunics and filled them up with candies while girls                                                              discreetly took whatever they  needed.

During her visit, she was seduced by the charm of King Solomon and returned pregnant to her country.

She gave birth to a son named Menelik. The child later became King of Ethiopia, It is therefore that the country may claim an affiliation with the Jewish people.

                                               Although none of this appears in the Bible,

                             this version has remained in the Ethiopian cultural fund for centuries.

 

 

Salomon and the Queen of Sheba

Salomon and the Queen of Sheba