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But Where is Emmaus?

Updated: May 3, 2023

By Silvia Holgado (Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi)

May 1st, 2023 - Easter Newsletter I Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center

This is a question that has required "rivers of ink" by researchers and honestly I do not dare to attempt to answer it. The identification of this town is not definitively concluded, even by scholars. What I would like to offer however is a brief overview of a place rarely visited by pilgrims, which also deserves a lot of credibility in the academic debate about where Emmaus is.

Roads to four possible locations of Emmaus (© Custodia Terrae Sanctae)

I am referring to Emmaus-El Qubeibeh, a sanctuary where the Franciscans guard the memory of Jesus' encounter with his disciples. In fact, topographically speaking, it would be the most plausible since it is on the path of an ancient route out of Jerusalem and is far from the Holy City (the Gospel refers to"60 stadia" or about 11km/7 miles from Jerusalem). Excavations carried out in the 20th century brought to light a place inhabited at the time of the Roman occupation. Covered by glass on the floor of the Church can be found the foundations of a house that has traditionally been called the house of Cleofás.

It is to this place where the Franciscans and many faithful Christians from Jerusalem make a pilgrimage every Easter Monday. I was able to join along and after the Mass, we all went to pick up a (delicious!) loaf of bread distributed by the Custos of the Holy Land, and we fondly remember the Lord's gesture which we had shortly before experienced in the Eucharist.

Photo by Silvia Holgado, Brother Franciscan sharing bread in Emmaus

Once Easter Monday has passed, silence and recollection return to this place. Given that it is not on a usually travelled route, it patiently waits for the disciples who today also want to travel there to meet the Lord on their journey.

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