My grandfather was always proud of the fact that he had been baptised in the Suez Canal. So it was in a spirit of pilgrimage that in the Easter after the end of the War he travelled to Jerusalem.
The first set of photographs were taken by him, and the captions, where present, are all as noted by him on the backs of the prints.
St Paul’s Steps – from where he is reputed to have addressed the crowd of Jews that were mobbing him – St Anthony’s Tower
(The tower of St Anthony’s Coptic Monastery)
Jerusalem – the Golden Gate
Russian Orthodox Church – Mount of Olives. Easter 1919. All the roof was gilt and looked wonderful in the sun. It was sealed up so we couldn’t go inside.
Jerusalem – showing the dome of the Mosque of Omar. Taken by me from the Mount of Olives. Russian Church on the right. Easter 1919.
Jerusalem – Mosque of Omar
Jerusalem – Temple area & Mosque of Omar
The house where Lazarus was raised from the dead
Church of the Ascension taken from the tower of the German Church on the Mount of Olives. Easter 1919.
The remainder of the photographs of Jerusalem and Bethlehem are postcards of Christian holy places. The messages written to the family give a clear picture of the impact that these places had on my grandfather.
“Basilica, Bethlehem. The oldest Christian church in the world – below this is the birthplace of Christ.”
“A view of the Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem. The large tree is an ancient olive tree some hundreds of years old & reputed to have descended from the actual olive trees at the time of our Lord’s visit. The garden has been much modernised. Love Hy. Easter 1919”
“The Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Contains site of Calvary and sepulchre where Christ was buried – of course this is disputed by certain authorities.”
“The Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Easter 1919. The Sepulchre where Christ was buried after Crucifixion.”
“Jerusalem, Interior of the Ecce Homo Basilica. Presented to me by the Mother Superior of the Church of Our Lady of Sion, Jerusalem – which stands on the site of the Ecce Homo Arch – during my visit there. Easter 1919 HB. The Arch and Wall forms the reredos behind the Altar shown in the photograph.”
My grandfather retained a keen interest in the Holy Land for the rest of his days, proof of which can be seen on his – now my – bookshelves, on subjects ranging from the history of the English church to the development of the modern state of Israel.
© Paul Barham, March 2018