The Sanctuary in Emmaus – El Qubeibeh

Emmaus 91001, Abu Ghosh, Jerusalem District, Izrael

Website of the Sanctuary

+970 2247 36 12

Sanctuary Visiting Hours Summer: 8:00am-12:00pm and 2:00pm-6:00pm Winter: 8:00am-12:00pm and 2:00pm-5:00pm

Emmaus

The tradition accepted and followed by the Franciscans of the Holy Land identifies this sanctuary with the memory of the appearance of the Resurrected Lord to the two disciples of Emmaus, Cleopas and Simeon.

“Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” Luke 24:13-35.

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Map of the place

In 1861 the site was purchased by the Marchioness and Servant of God Paolina de Nicolay and donated to the Custody of the Holy Land. Successive excavations enabled the discovery of the remains of the crusader basilica with “Cleopas’ house” in its northwest corner and a few houses of the medieval village along the road.

1. “Cleopas’ House”
2. Basilica
3. Franciscan convent
4. Crusader castle
5. Castle chapel
6. Ancient cistern
7. Medieval village

The Christian tradition

The place where Jesus appeared to two disciples after the Resurrection, one of whom was named Cleopas, is described in the Gospel by its name (Emmaus), its type (village) and its distance from Jerusalem (60 stades, which according to the best texts is seven miles or eleven kilometers).

These indications notwithstanding, in different periods various places have claimed to be the real Emmaus of the Gospel. Among these, El-Qubeibeh has been confirmed by the little stream of tradition for the past 700 years, up to the present day.

The ancient Church, beginning in the third century (Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, etc.) instead identified Cleopas’ village with the city of Emmaus (Nicopolis of the year 70 AD) that figures in the story of the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 3:40-57; 4:3; 9:50).

It should be noted that the name of the site corresponds, but not the type and the distance because several biblical texts put it at 160 stades (30 kilometers).

In the Crusader period (12th century) a site at the proper distance from Jerusalem was sought and so the Fontenoid castle (ancient Kiryat Ya’arim, today’s Abu Ghosh) was suggested, but the new location did not take hold. On the other hand, El Qubeibeh has been the only site since the 14th century and the Franciscans adopted it. The village’s topographical situation, located on one of the roads that mount to Jerusalem, certainly influenced the choice of the site, as well as the possible persistence of the local tradition.

Biblical Text – The apparition to the disciples of Emmaus

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

(Luke 24:13-35)

The Christian tradition

The place where Jesus appeared to two disciples after the Resurrection, one of whom was named Cleopas, is described in the Gospel by its name (Emmaus), its type (village) and its distance from Jerusalem (60 stades, which according to the best texts is seven miles or eleven kilometers). These indications notwithstanding, in different periods various places have claimed to be the real Emmaus of the Gospel. Among these, El-Qubeibeh has been confirmed by the little stream of tradition for the past 700 years, up to the present day.

The ancient Church, beginning in the third century (Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, etc.) instead identified Cleopas’ village with the city of Emmaus (Nicopolis of the year 70 AD) that figures in the story of the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 3:40-57; 4:3; 9:50). It should be noted that the name of the site corresponds, but not the type and the distance because several biblical texts put it at 160 stades (30 kilometers).
In the Crusader period (12th century) a site at the proper distance from Jerusalem was sought and so the Fontenoid castle (ancient Kiryat Ya’arim, today’s Abu Ghosh) was suggested, but the new location did not take hold. On the other hand, El Qubeibeh has been the only site since the 14th century and the Franciscans adopted it. The village’s topographical situation, located on one of the roads that mount to Jerusalem, certainly influenced the choice of the site, as well as the possible persistence of the local tradition.

Posted in The Holy Land