Christians may only make up around 2 percent of Israel’s population, but their strong presence can be felt in its Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Maronite Catholic, and Greek Orthodox communities. Their places of worship and community reflect that diversity, and in Churches and Monasteries in the Holy Land, which Arcade Publishing published in November, author David Rapp and photographer Hanan Isachar highlight 33 of them.
“Christianity in the Holy Land tends to get media coverage in times of tension between the different denominations or between the different religions. However, our work exposed us to many inspiring examples of coexistence and creative solutions that allow the moderates among the followers of the different beliefs to live on this wonderful piece of land together,” Rapp and Isachar said in a joint email interview.
Isachar’s photographs focus on ceremonies surrounding holidays and the buildings’ varied architectural features, which reveal European, Byzantine, and other influences. Many of the churches featured were built on sites where, according to tradition, important events described in the Bible took place, including the Basilica of the Annunciation to Mary in Nazareth, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. They’re all major pilgrimage destinations, and right about now, they’re likely welcoming a whole bunch of visitors for Christmas.