The Dead Sea is Hereafter Alive

The Dead Sea is already alive… Deacon Volodia and we, a group of pilgrims from Armenia, were able to change its course, to stop its rapidly dying process.Before us multinational pilgrims and travellers of different ages had believed that salty black mud had special power and covered the whole body with mud. We said, “You are a Sea, an ordinary sea”, and enjoyed swimming in it as we could have swum in in the Mediterranean. We danced Armenian folk dances, sang songs, swam and shouted for joy, Hayastan-Armenia. I crossed the border with Jordan by swimming. It’s a sea, isn’t it? I didn’t pay any attention to the red floating things restricting swimming afar. Why should one be afraid of drowning if diving is a problem in this sea? We entered the Dead Sea in the Jordan River Mouth.The river isn’t very large by discharge of water. But Davit Bleyan had the joy of Christ while bathing in the river.What a scene it was!  We were in the river with white shirts on, and so were hundreds of other pilgrims. What baptismal rites are done in one day, week in the River Jordan! In how many languages they are done! Endless, incalculable pilgrims…

We came to the River Jordan after having listened to the Holy Liturgy by the grave of St. Mary in the St. Mary Church. The church has an Armenian priest and deacons. The liturgy celebrant is Father Zenon who is as inspired as he was in the Holy Sepulcher (Resurrection) Cathedral. The Catholic Armenian Apostolic Churches have their own sections in the St. Mary Cathedral. That is one of the phenomena of the Armenian Jerusalem: having an equal share of presence with the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

And then we had dinner in the famous Gethsemane Garden, where Davit picked a pomegranate and gave it to his mother, walked across the slopes of Mount of Olives, the places where Jesus Christ preached, walked and was arrested. We walked along the tracks of Christ till we got to the Church “Our Father”, sanctuary, a Holy Place where Jesus Christ ascended to the Heavens. We saw the 60 boards on which the prayer Our Father in 60 languages, and among them, of course, in Armenian.

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