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The orthodox pilgrim on the Holy Land

Home About the project Travel Israel with a private guide Photographs News History of the Holy Land Tradition Tour Guide in Israel, Paul Platonov Individual one-day excursions from Jerusalem and other cities of Israel 2023 (34 routes) Articles by Pavel Platonov on the Holy Land Life and needs of Russian Orthodox pilgrims in the Holy Land in the XIX-XXI centuries. Pavel Platonov
The Church of St. Peter the Apostle and the Righteous Tabitha in the Russian site in Jaffa. Pavel Platonov
The Olive Savior-Ascension Convent in Jerusalem. Pavel Platonov
Gornensky Monastery in Jerusalem: the history of the Abode and its patronal feasts. Pavel Platonov
History of the building of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem with the house church of St. the martyr Alexandra. Pavel Platonov
Holy Mount Tabor is the site of the glorious Transfiguration of the Lord. Pavel Platonov
The Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. Pavel Platonov
Home / Articles by Pavel Platonov on the Holy Land / Life and needs of Russian Orthodox pilgrims in the Holy Land in the XIX-XXI centuries. Pavel Platonov

Life and needs of Russian Orthodox pilgrims in the Holy Land in the XIX-XXI centuries 

Throughout the history of Christianity in Russia, the tradition of Russian Orthodox pilgrimage to the Holy Land has always been an inalienable and important part of Russian piety. Russian pilgrims were more often called worshipers, since the tradition of pilgrimage, inherently incorporated into the Orthodox way of life, meant worshiping shrines as evangelical symbols. The Holy Land was perceived as an icon of the Savior's earthly life. Prayer, thoughtful and contemplative worship of the image-shrine was called worship. By the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the number of pilgrims, wishing to visit the Holy Land was so great that it became necessary to create a powerful pilgrimage infrastructure capable of taking an increasing number of pilgrims from year to year, providing them with the minimum necessary during the pilgrimage, their life and needs during their stay in the Holy Land.
Among the most famous Russian organizations dealing with the needs of pilgrims in the Holy Land in the second half of the 19th century, there was the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem as a church representation of the Russian Orthodox Church, founded on 11 (23) February 1847; Russian Society of Shipping and Trade - (ROPiT), established on August 3, 1856, which provided shipping to the Holy Land, as well as throughout the whole territory of Russia. Ships of the ROPiT brought pilgrims to Odessa, and from there through Constantinople and Athos to Jaffa, and then to Egypt - on pilgrimage trips to the holy places of the East. It should be noted the activities of the Palestinian Committee, which operated during the period 1859-1964, and the Palestinian Commission, which operated from 1864 to 1889. The Chairman of the Palestinian Committee, and then the Commission was the brother of Emperor Alexander II - Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, the manager of affairs - B.P. Mansurov.
Builders of Russian buildings in Jerusalem (1859-1864 gg.).
The architect Epinger (above in the middle), hieromonk Leonid (far left),
V. I. Dorogobudzhinov (second from left), Bishop Kirill (Naumov) (in the middle), Boris Pavlovich Mansurov (second from right),
Hieromonk Yuvenaly (far right).
Photo album "Russian institutions in Jerusalem in the period until 1907".
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

The main task of the Palestinian Committee was the acquisition of land in Jerusalem and other places of the Holy Land, the construction of their courtyards, hospice houses to ensure normal conditions for Russian fans to stay. It is the Palestinian Committee that acquires a site outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem on the Meidam Square after visiting the Holy Land by Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich in 1859.

Here were subsequently built the so-called "Russian buildings" - the largest real estate of any foreign country in Jerusalem of that historical period. In addition, the Palestinian Committee acquires a site in close proximity to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the greatest Christian shrine, known as the "Threshold of the Judgment Gate", was subsequently opened, and where the Alexander Compound was built with the efforts of the later established Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS).

Russian buildings on the Meidam Square in Jerusalem. Photos of the XIX century monk Timon
In the report of 1860 on the measures taken to improve the life of Russian Orthodox worshipers in Palestine, Boris Pavlovich Mansurov wrote:
"The highest committee established, not limited to the arrangement of temporary shelters in Palestine for the sake of our worshipers, and bearing in mind the highest will to seek measures for the establishment of permanent hospices, only the purchase of land was completed, and all the information required for it was collected on the spot, immediately proceeded to preliminary considerations on this matter.
Now they have already been finalized, the plans, drawings and estimates of the proposed buildings have been approved by drawings, which are attached to the public.
On the above-mentioned Meidam Square, at the extremity of which four roads converge (to Bethlehem, to the Godfather Monastery, to Jaffa and to Nablus), it was decided to build:
1) a single-altar church, in the name of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity
2) a house to house the Russian Mission and come to Jerusalem to worship the Russian monks
3) hospice house for 300 admirers
4) hospice house for 500 female admirers
5) hospital for 60 beds
6) the necessary services for these buildings.
7) a stone fence wall around the entire Russian domain "[1]
General plan of Russian buildings in Jerusalem from the photo album
"Russian institutions in Jerusalem in the period until 1907".
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS
The result of the activities of the Palestinian Committee were Russian buildings, which included: the Trinity Cathedral, the building of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, the buildings of the Elizabethan (male) and Mariinsky (female) compounds, the house of the Russian Imperial Consul and the Russian Hospital. All buildings were enclosed by a stone wall with two entrances [2].

After the Palestinian Committee fulfilled its functions to create the infrastructure of Russian buildings in the center of Jerusalem, it was abolished. Instead, a Palestinian Commission was established at the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs consisting of B.P. Mansurov, director of the Asian Department of Count N. Ignatiev and Prince S.N. Urusov from St. Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. For various reasons, during the activities of the Palestinian Committee, the complex of Russian compounds was not built in the originally planned volume. In particular, the male (Elizabethan) and female (Mariinsky) compounds remained single-storey, instead of the planned 2-storey buildings. The Trinity Cathedral did not receive interior decoration. The consecration of the Trinity Cathedral on October 28, 1872 and the house church in the name of St. the martyrs of Queen Alexandra inside the building of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission on July 28, 1864, was held already during the period of the activity of the Palestinian Commission.
Russian Orthodox pilgrims during a moleben on Russian buildings in the XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox scientific enlightenment Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

In the period from January 1, 1865 to April 1, 1901, Russian buildings took about 86 thousand pilgrims.

For its 25-year existence of the Palestinian Commission, it has not been possible to achieve significant results in improving the life of Russian pilgrims arriving in the Holy Land. Compounding after years of decrepitude, became close, the public sounded alarm, while the records of the officials of the Palestinian Commission remained state-free, calculated on the unpretentiousness and resignation of the common folk pilgrimage [3]. There was an urgent need to create a new organization free from the state bureaucracy and on more democratic principles. Practically, this idea is carried out by the prominent Russian public figure, practical founder, ideologist and inspirer of the future Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) - Vasily Nikolaevich Khitrovo, who served as the assistant to the Chairman of the Society from 1882 to 1889, and from 1889 to 1903 - the duties of the Secretary.
Vasily Khitrovo
Photo album "Russian institutions in Jerusalem in the period until 1907".
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Among the Russian social organizations listed above, who actively manifested themselves in the Middle East in the maintenance of the needs and daily life of Orthodox pilgrims in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS), founded in 1882, occupies a special place. On the solemn opening of the society on May 21, the old style was attended by members of the imperial family, Russian and Greek clergy, many scholars and diplomats [4]. On this day the Church celebrates the memory of St. Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperors Constantine and Helena, which inextricably linked the future of the Imperial Society with the memory of the ancient emperors-temple builders in the Holy Land.
From the very beginning, the IOPS activities were aimed at improving the life of Russian pilgrims, which follows from the main goals and objectives of the Society, recorded in its Charter: "The concern of the Society about Russian pilgrims is not limited to one cheaper way to the Holy Land, but even more aimed at satisfying their material and spiritual needs in the Holy Land. In addition, the Society has set itself the task, through various kinds of publications, to acquaint the Russian people with the present and past of the Holy Land and thereby serve for spiritual unity between Russia and the Mother of Churches "[5].
Only from 1883 to 1896 through the IOPS in Palestine passed 22 328 people (14 891 pilgrims and 7347 pilgrims). The number of women pilgrims was 66% of the total number of pilgrims. 85-90% of the pilgrims were from the common people. Already on February 10, 1883, the Society introduced the so-called pilgrimage books, for the purchase of which pilgrims were provided with a cheap train journey to Odessa and a ship from Odessa to Jaffa and back [6]. The general composition of pilgrims arriving at the Holy Land was analyzed by Vasiliy Khitrovo in the article "What are the ways Russian pilgrims travel to the Holy Land" on the basis of the statistical analysis of 1883-1899. In particular, it was noted that 97.5% of Russian pilgrims "can not afford the comfort of navigation": first class for 16 years went to the Holy Land only a few dozen people, the second class - 570 people, and 22.5 thousand people sailed the most cheap third class "[7]. According to the report of the IOPS Photocopy Book in Jerusalem No. 4 of December 23, 1892 to November 2, 1893, the number of admirers who arrived from March 1, 1892 to March 1, 1893, to the Men's (Elizabeth) compound was only 1234, who dropped out of 590, to the Mariinskoye ) -1458 and 526 retired pilgrims to the New (Sergievskoe) compound - 213 arrivals, 157 departures. Accordingly, the total number of admirers of the 2905 who arrived in the year, and those who died, is 1273 [8].
Russian pilgrims near the Elizabeth Compound and Trinity Cathedral. Photo of the XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

In 1885-1888 the Society built the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane on the slope of the Mount of Olives, which today is an integral part of the architectural appearance of Jerusalem. From 1887 to 1896 the Society is carrying out a project to build the Alexanderovsky compound over the "Threshold of the Judgment Gate" found as a result of archaeological excavations. May 22, 1896 at the Alexander Compound Church is consecrated in the name of St. benefits Prince Alexander Nevsky. In 1886, after the authorized representative of the Society in Jerusalem, Dmitriy Smyshlyaev managed to purchase a new site near the Russian buildings, it was decided to build a new compound for an ever-increasing number of Russian pilgrims.
Consecration of the cross on the roof of the Aleksandrovsky compound of the IOPS. May 10, 1896. Photo of monk Timon
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

The construction of the new (Sergievsky) compound was carried out from 1886 to 1890. Hegumen Veniamin - the founder of the Veniamin compound in Jerusalem, passes in 1891 to the Society the right of ownership to this compound, from 1903 to 1905 the Nikolaev compound was built in Jerusalem. From 1901 to 1904 the Society is building a Russian compound in Nazareth.
Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. Photo of the XIX century. Monk Timon

In 1889, two important events took place in the life of the Orthodox Palestine Society. By the highest decree of March 24, 1889, the Palestinian Society was transferred to the functions and capitals of the Palestinian Commission, which was closed on July 6, 1889. As a result, the Palestinian Society inherited the Elizabethan and Mariinsky compounds, as well as the Russian hospital, built by the Palestinian Committee. By the same decree of March 24, 1889, the Orthodox Palestine Society was given the name of the Imperial Society [9].
Thus, in the late XIX - early XX centuries, Russia had a holistic and powerful strictly organized structure in Palestine for the reception of pilgrims, one of the main goals of which was informal care for their life and needs.

The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) acted in more than 52 dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church and had in them its regional departments that collected donations to improve the life of Orthodox worshipers in the Holy Land. On average, each department brought the Society 1500-1700 rubles a year. The annual Palm Shore gave the Society 50 to 70 thousand rubles a year. Such departments began to appear since 1893. Their goal was not only the collection of funds, but also the active popularization among the broad sections of the Orthodox population of the history of the Holy Land and the importance of Russian presence in the Middle East [10].

Next, we will try to trace the way of the pilgrim from Odessa to Jaffa: his stay in the Holy Land, visiting holy places, the conditions of life on Russian buildings - until his return to his homeland on the basis of the "Brief Guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East: Constantinople-Athos-Jaffa-Jerusalem-Bethlehem-Jordan-Hebron-Nazareth-Sinai-Matarie "[11] published by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in St. Petersburg in 1907. By this time the Society already had a full structure of the farmhouses capable of receiving the numerous caravans of Russian pilgrims arriving on the Holy Land, therefore, on the basis of this manual, it is possible to fully trace the pilgrim's route from Russia to the Holy Land and back.

Pilgrim books and passport design

Pilgrimage books purchased from the Company were valid for a year from the date of their issue and gave the right to stop along the way at the railway junctions by special coupons. The books were issued personally by the authorized representatives of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in many cities of Russia: in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vladikavkaz, Voronezh, Kazan, Kaluga, Kiev, Kursk, Nizhny Novgorod, Orel, Orenburg, Penza, Poltava, Ryazan, Saratov, Samara, Smolensk, Stavropol, Tambov, Tiflis, Tula, Ufa, Chernigov, Yaroslavl. The fare for these books was much cheaper. So, for example, a ticket of the third class from Odessa to Jaffa at an ordinary rate cost 20 rubles. 50 kopecks, one way, while a ticket, taken on a pilgrimage book, cost 24 rubles. both ways.
Pilgrimage book of the IOPS III class of 1893
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Inner turn of the pilgrimage book
K. A. Maslikhova with the signature of the IOPS secretary V.N. Khitrovo
   Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Return pilgrim tickets operated within a year from the date of their issuance, with the right to stop along the route in all ports, where the ships of the Russian Society of Shipping and Trade entered [12].

III Class Pilgrimage Ticket
Russian Society for Shipping and Trade
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

In addition, there was a special procedure for issuing a foreign passport. It was considered necessary that the passport was not overdue, and residence permits in Russia were recognized: for clergymen, monastics and employees - the permission of their superiors; for retired - the decree on resignation; for honorary citizens and merchants - a certificate of urban and merchant governments; for the burghers - the poster passports of petty bourgeois administrations and for the peasants - the poster passports of volost administrations. Wives and minor children, appearing in the passports of husbands or parents, if they were alone, had to have attested certificates from husbands or parents about consent to their trip. Persons of the male gender who reached the age of 18 had to have certificates of a subscript to the conscription section for serving military service. Persons aged 21 years were required to have certificates of conscription, or to be enlisted in the militia's militia, if this was not noted in the passport. In the presence of these required documents, it was necessary to obtain a certificate in the police department where the pilgrim was living, a certificate of no obstacles to traveling abroad. And city dwellers received this certificate from the police chief, and those who live in villages and villages - from the police chief. Then the pilgrims gave a residence permit and police certificate to their local governor and asked him for a pass for a trip to Jerusalem. The pilgrims who received the gubernatorial passes were eligible to receive a foreign (pilgrimage) passport in Kishinev, Odessa, Simferopol, Kerch, the cities of Transcaucasia and Vladivostok from the office of the governor or mayor paying only 50 kopecks for every six months of staying abroad. If the pilgrims made out an ordinary passport, then they had to pay 10 rubles for a passport, 5 rubles in favor of the Russian Red Cross Society, and only 15 rubles each for each half-year [13].

The internal turn of the Russian passport of the pilgrimage of Olga Kamagantsevay 1912
with the consular mark in Russian
"SENDING ON THE BOHOMOLE" ("Sending on pilgrimage").

Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Sending from Odessa

The main point of sending pilgrims to Jerusalem and the holy mountain of Athos was the city of Odessa. In addition to Odessa, pilgrims traveled from Russia and returned on direct pilgrimage tickets through Taganrog, Novorossiysk and Batum. Upon arrival in Odessa, pilgrims could stop waiting for the departure of their steamer on the compounds of Athos monasteries: Panteleimonovsky, Andreevsky and Ilyinsky. As a rule, the novices of these monasteries greeted the pilgrims and accompanied them along with the luggage to the compounds. Most of the pilgrims were accommodated in common chambers, and for those wishing for greater amenities, separate rooms were provided. On the compounds, pilgrims received food and tea, and there was no fixed fee for living and eating, everything depended on the desire and diligence of the visitors themselves. Specially assigned to the pilgrims novice or monk explained all the technical details and subtleties of travel to the Holy Land and Athos, and if there were any serious questions or bewilderment, the pilgrims could apply to an authorized IOPS who lived permanently in Odessa [14]. Also, the pilgrims handed over their documents to the monk or novice for their registration in the police department and for the formulation of the passport. If the pilgrims stayed in Odessa in private hotels or houses, they had to fill out a special application form addressed to the Odessa mayor, which was as follows:

Application form:

                                His Excellency,

Mr. Odessa mayor.

From such and such (a rank, a name and a surname).

Wishing to go to the worship of the Holy places of the East and presenting (I should mention all the documents enclosed here and their number), I have the honor to ask your Excellency to extradite me a cheaper foreign passport.

(day, month and year) (Signed) [15]

Through the same monk or novice of Mount Athos pilgrims, in the presence of pilgrim books, they bought mainly tickets of the third class for passage by boat at a price corresponding to the point of arrival: in Jaffa, 25 rubles. and on Athos 14 rubles. 80 kop. Two more small tickets were attached to the ticket to Jaffa: red and white, with the right to free-of-charge transfer to Jaffa by boat from the ship to the shore and on the return from shore to the ship.

A control coupon for a pilgrim ticket of III class from Novorossiysk
up to Jaffa with stops on Mount Athos and Constantinople.
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Pilgrims of the third class were located in the places reserved for their placement in the hold or in the covered premises on the deck. Before boarding the steamer, the Odessa Ombudsman of the Palestine Society distributed to all worshipers of the holy places of the East Russian pilgrims - the Gospel or the Psalter in beautiful calico bindings, with the inscription: "God bless the Lord from Zion and see the good Jerusalem" [16]. It was a free gift of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society departing to the Holy Land Russian Orthodox pilgrims.

Journey on a ship from Odessa to Jaffa

During the journey on the ship pilgrims could take advantage of the food, according to the tickets they bought. Pilgrims of the first and second classes received meals in common canteens at the appointed time. For a full daily meal, consisting of morning tea, breakfast, lunch and evening tea, it was charged: in the first class, 10 franks (3 rubles 75 kopecks), in the second class 8 franks (or 3 rubles). In addition, in the dining rooms of classes I and II, it was also possible to receive individual portions: ham, cheese, caviar, bread, butter, as well as other products, paying for them with gold or credit rubles at the rate. The prices in this buffet were approved by the Shipping Company and therefore nothing extra was taken from the passengers. Pilgrims of the third class had the opportunity to receive hot water on the steamer for tea from the steamer kitchen, paying 2 kopecks each for the kettle. When receiving the same hot water from the steam cubes, arranged on the deck during a large congregation of pilgrims, no fee was charged. Pilgrims of the third class could use the services of a ship's buffet, as well as order individual breakfasts and lunches at a discount with a preliminary agreement with the management of the restaurant of the steamer [17].
The announcement of the Russian Society of Shipping and Trade (ROPIT)
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Steamships sailing from Odessa, as a rule, on the way visited Constantinople. During pilgrimage the pilgrims were sent ashore to rest on the monasteries of Athos monasteries: Panteleimonovsky, Andreevsky and Ilyinsky, whose monks went to each arriving ship, paying for the return trip of 20 kopecks. Pilgrims coming from Sevastopol and Batum, awaiting the arrival of a steamer from Odessa, going to Jaffa or to Athos, had to go ashore and stop at one of the above-mentioned compounds. They were provided with housing and food and tea, for which, like in Odessa, there was no fixed fee, each pilgrim gave a donation at will. Under the guise of the monks of Mount Athos, other persons often abused "collecting donations" and therefore the pilgrims were instructed first to find out from which monastery the monks or novices were expelled. Usually steamboats stood no more than 1.5 days in Constantinople and the most zealous pilgrims managed to visit the shrines of Constantinople: St. Sophia, the patriarchate, where the relics of Solomon, the mother of the Maccabees, the chair of St. John Chrysostom, Vlaherna, where there was a vision of St. Andrew, Christ for the sake of the holy fool, the Intercession of the Mother of God and Balukley with a sacred source. These pilgrimages were carried out accompanied by the monks of the compounds or with the guides recommended by the heads of the compounds, otherwise the pilgrims could be subjected to the insolent abasement of various rogues [18].

Visit Mount Athos

Male pilgrims who wished to visit Athos used the circular Alexandria line, which operated between Odessa and Port Said, calling at the port of Daphne - the pier of Athos - once every two weeks, or from Constantinople on a Greek and Turkish steamer weekly. Daphne's dock is a half-hour distance from the Russian Panteleimon Monastery. Disembarkation from the ships took place on monastery boats or longboats. In Daphne there were compounds Panteleimonovsky, Andreevsky Ilyinsky monasteries, shipping agency, Russian post and customs. Here they checked the baggage of pilgrims and climbed into the pledge of the passport, which was returned after the marking of the Kaimakam [20] when leaving Athos. If the ship came to Daphne late at night, the pilgrims stayed to spend the night on the farmsteads of Athos monasteries and the next day, early in the morning, they rode mules along the Holy Mountain to the monasteries and monasteries in which they were in Odessa, or where they wished.

Those pilgrims who chose the place of their stay Panteleimon monastery, in case the ship arrived before midnight, went on a boat to spend the night in the monastery. Big luggage was delivered in the morning, and the small one was brought in the same evening. Upon arrival at the monastery, pilgrims were accommodated either in common rooms or in separate rooms, beautifully furnished with everything necessary. After arrival, if it was not late at night, the pilgrims were offered a hearty meal and tea. For three days, the arrivals held a strict fast, they talked and then joined the Holy Mysteries, and for them the table was cooked separately, even without oil. On the fourth day, pilgrims, under the guidance of the monk-conductor, with the blessing of the hegumen, went on a trip to the Holy Mountain. Fans who did not have much time visited only the Russian sketes of Ilinsky and Andreevsky, as well as the Protatsky (Kareisky) Cathedral, Iver, the Monastery of St. Athanasius and the summit of Mount Athos, and then returned to the monastery. Those who had more time visited: Xenoph, Dokhiar, Zograf, Esfigmen, Vatoped, Ilyinsky monastery, Pandakrator, Andreevsky monastery, Protat, Lavra St. Athanasius, Iver, the summit of Mount Athos, St. Paul, Dionisiat and Xiropotam. This journey took place either on foot or on mules on horseback, and in some places where there was a good road, and on horses. When mules and horses were always there were drivers (vordunari), whose duties included caring for mules and their maintenance. Pogonschiki for their work upon return received a monetary reward at the request of the pilgrim. The pilgrims were not recommended to be ruled and urged by mules, especially on paths with dangerous precipices, since this animal is very cautious and goes on its own fine, but when compelled to be capricious and tries to throw off the rider.
The route on the mountain was set by the head of the caravan - the monk conductor. The stops for the night were made in Russian monasteries, in the Russian cells of St. Artemia and St. George in Keshar and in the Bulgarian monastery Zograf, in rare cases in the regular Greek monasteries: in Vatoped, in the monastery of St. Athanasius, in the St. Pavel and in the Bulgarian Hilandar. In all the above-mentioned monasteries, fans were attached to holy relics, inspected the sights and enjoyed hospitality - lunch or dinner and tea. In the Russian monasteries for payment, the board was not supposed to be paid, and the pilgrim was allowed to decide for himself how to thank the monastery with his donation. In the Greek state monasteries and in Bulgarian Hilandar they paid necessarily, although there was no definite payment here either. The reason for this commitment was that the hotel received from the monastery for the pilgrim meal only bread, cheese, wine and butter, and everything else was prepared for them at their own expense.

Upon their return from the tour of the Holy Mountain, the pilgrims received a refreshment in the Russian monastery with a rich meal, received as a blessing from the Holy Mountain from the hegumen icons, rosaries, brochures, leaflets and accompanied themselves on boats or mules to Daphne to sail to Russia or Jerusalem. The monk, accompanying the pilgrims to the ship, when leaving the shore for the steamer, handed each pilgrim his foreign passport. At the same time to give money to monks was not recommended, if someone wanted to thank the monastery for hospitality with his donation, then before leaving he gave it to the hegumen of the monastery [21].

Arriving at the port of Jaffa

Arriving for the most part in the morning steamboats with pilgrims because of the inconvenience of the Jaffa harbor, stopped at a considerable distance from the shore. The pilots were transported ashore in boats delivered by the Russian Society of Shipping and Trade (without a new fee), under the supervision of the conductors (kawas) of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society.
View of the Jaffa embankment from the roof of the house of Simon the tanner.
Photographers F. Bonfis and Tsangaki. March 1894
By the beginning of the 20th century, the transfer from the steamer to the Jaffa coast was so orderly that it posed no danger to life and therefore the pilgrims could not worry about either their lives or the fate of their luggage that was transported on special longboats and delivered directly to the railway station. The society was not responsible for the luggage and recommended the most valuable things to have, but in no case in the public eye - in pockets or in hands, so as not to lose or lose them through deception or theft of local rascals. Money was recommended to have a little (about a ruble change), the rest was recommended to be sewn in a lining or in internal pockets. Those pilgrims who did not have pilgrim books had to have with them 4 rubles to pay for a second class railway ticket to and from Jerusalem [22].

Original book with tear-off coupons IOPS II classes
to travel by rail from Jaffa to Jerusalem and back
(some signed by the director of the IOPS in Palestine in 1910-1914 by P. I. Ryazhsky)
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

If there were any problems or difficulties, the pilgrims had to turn to the conductors (kawas) of the Palestinian Society, who had a light bronze metal sign on the cap with the Russian coat of arms. Pilgrims were urged not to enter into contact with the local intrusive guides - Arabs and Greeks, so that they would not be punished later for their gullibility and inexperience [23].
Kawas of Russian Imperial Consulate in Jaffa. XIX century.
Photoarchive of the orthodox Society
"Russia in colors" in Jerusalem


Because steamships arrived at the port of Jaffa in the early morning, and a considerable time remained before the train leaving for Jerusalem at one o'clock in the afternoon, then the pilgrims, accompanied by the Kawas of the Society, visited either the Greek Orthodox St. George Monastery standing by the sea, or the house and orchard belonging to the Russian ecclesiastical mission with the church of St. Peter and righteous Tabitha. In both Greek and Russian monasteries, pilgrims received a warm welcome and in small quantities could have a temporary lodging here. About one in the afternoon the pilgrims were on the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway on an extremely slow moving train, which, despite the insignificant distance, was only 82 miles per hour, making an hour or less not more than 15 miles.
Arrival of the train with Russian pilgrims from Jaffa to Jerusalem
Photoarchive of the orthodox  Society
"Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

Arrival in Jerusalem and accommodation in Russian buildings

At seven o'clock in the evening the pilgrims arrived in Jerusalem to the railway station and, accompanied by the Kavas of the Society, usually went on foot to the Russian buildings. Those who were difficult to walk, and who had the financial means, could hire wheelchairs at the station, even for 4 people for a fee of 75 kopecks up to 1 rub. 50 kopecks [24]. After the pilgrims came to the Russian buildings and were placed in the respective courtyards according to their pilgrimage books, they went to the St. Queen Alexandra in the building of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, where the hieromonks of the Mission, and sometimes the Archimandrite himself, the head of the Mission, performed a thankful prayer service for them for their safe arrival to the Holy Land. From the church the pilgrims went to the folk refectory of the III class placed on the Sergievsky compound, where they received a charity dinner and then went to their shelters for rest. [25]

Thanksgiving prayers after a meal in the folk refectory of Russian buildings in Jerusalem. XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox  Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

The next day pilgrims received their luggage through the administration of the railway in the office of the administration of the compounds, and also deposited their passport, pilgrim's book and steamship ticket, depositing 5 rubles in pledge, which they then took back after their departure from Jerusalem. Also, one ruble was paid to a Russian hospital with the right, if necessary, to use free treatment and maintenance. The first two weeks after their arrival in Jerusalem, the pilgrims who stayed in the common chambers paid nothing for the premises, and after this period, if they wished to continue their stay in the Russian buildings, they paid 3 kopecks for the premises per day per person. Suitcases, chests and other heavy things were deposited in special pantries at each building of the compound. For those who did not want to live in common chambers, Russian buildings were provided with separate rooms, which, depending on the situation, were divided into three classes. Rooms I and II class - beautifully furnished and equipped with everything necessary for a long stay in them were not inferior to the situation of modern European hotels. Such rooms were located only at Sergievsky Compound. Class III rooms with a simpler situation were located, apart from Sergievsky, at the Nikolayevsky compound.
IOPS receipt for the placement of valuables in the office of the Company at Sergievsky Compound.
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Rooms of different classes had their prices. Room I class with one bed and linen cost 2 ruble per day, and for each extra bed (not more than one in the room) with room linen 70 kopecks per day. In rooms of class II the price was 1 ruble for one room with one bed and room linen, and for each extra bed (not more than two for the room) with room linen 30 kopecks per day.

Room I class at the Sergievsky Compound
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS
The bulk of pilgrims settled in rooms of Class III, where the price was for a room with one bed, without room clothes, from 30 to 50 kopecks per day. For each extra bed (not more than three for the room), 10 and 15 kopecks per day were paid. Those wishing to have room clothes (sheet, pillowcase and towel) were paid extra for each bed per day 10 kopecks. Those who lived in separate rooms could hand over valuables and money for preservation, under a receipt, to the Office of the compound [26].
Room of class II at Sergievsky Compound
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

The employees of Russian households were strictly forbidden to accept gifts from the residents living on the compounds, both cash and clothing, and also to recommend any traders, or to sell something to pilgrims themselves.

The original form of the IOPS receipt,
which was issued to guests after payment of hotel services at the compound.
This form was issued to Dr. Bernad in 1911.
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Stay on Russian buildings, food pilgrims

At the Sergievskoe compound all the economic institutions of the Russian shelters were concentrated: kitchen, water-heating, bath-house, laundry, folk refectory. In the refectory you could get a hot dinner from 12 to 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The dinner consisted of soup or borsch, then at the second, optional, porridge, beans or peas were served; In addition, each diner received one pound of white or black bread and a mug of kvass. The price of a full lunch consisting of two courses with bread and kvass was 10 kopecks. For a separate borscht or soup with bread it was necessary to pay 8 kopecks, For porridge, beans or peas, required separately paid 3 kopecks. Near the refectory there was a premise with a hot-water an apparatus where it was possible to receive hot water for the tea and other needs of pilgrims throughout the day. For 2 measures of water, with a capacity of about 24 tea glasses, it was necessary to pay only 2 kopecks. Lunches and individual portions were served in the refectory on special tickets, and water from hot water on tin cans. Tickets and tin cans were bought in the shop of the Society.
Pilgrims in line for boiling water at the water heater on
Sergievsky Compound in Jerusalem. XIX century.
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

In addition, there were so-called "funeral lunches". They were received by poor pilgrims for free, but by specially installed tickets. Many pious pilgrims, wishing to remember in the prayers of their loved ones, were transferred to the office of compounds, which was on Sergievskoe compound money for the purchase of a certain number of tickets for a full dinner, and asked the memory of the deceased to feed the poor pilgrims at the dates indicated by them. The office recognized through the subordinates about really needy pilgrims who, due to lack of funds, could not always eat hot food, and gave them tickets for getting "funeral" dinners in those days, which were indicated by the donors. During the year, there were about 3000 such dinners.

Coupons for "funeral dinners" in the folk refectory
with the inscription IPPO. ... "Shchi (cabbage soup - note by Pavel Platonov) with bread"
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS
The folk refectory at the Sergievsky Compound in Jerusalem. Photo of the XIX century
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Pilgrims, who wished to cook their own hot food from the products purchased in the shop, could use special fires, which were in common chambers, but bought firewood at their own expense. Also on the Sergie compound there were dining rooms of I and II classes. In the dining room I class pilgrim could get for 1 ruble 50 kopecks. Full food, which consisted of: morning tea or coffee with bread and butter, breakfast of 2 dishes, a 4-course lunch with sweet fruits of different varieties depending on the season and evening tea with bread (without oil). In the class II dining room, the total food cost per day was 1 ruble and consisted of: morning tea or coffee with bread without butter, breakfast of 2 dishes (same as in the dining room I class), a 3-course dinner, including including sweet and evening tea with bread [27].
Dining room I class at the Sergievsky Compound in Jerusalem
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

Sergievsky Compound

Food and icon shops, bath

In the autumn of 1906, the Society opened a book and icon shop on Russian households, in which there was a large selection of books of sacred scripture, liturgical books, the lives of saints published by the Holy Synod, brochures and leaflets of the Holy Trinity and Kiev Pechersky Lavra, popular publications of the Palestinian Society, a detailed description of the Holy Land, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other places discharged from Russia. Also sold icons, crosses, rosaries, palm branches, sacred images on satin and paper, incense and real wax candles. This shop was located on the Nikolayevsky compound. The existence of a Russian shop stopped the invasion of unscrupulous shopkeepers from local residents who placed their shops directly opposite Russian orphanages. They often sold books with a mass of rough typos and all sorts of drawings in the Catholic spirit, on poor quality paper and badly typed. The society called for caution when buying such a product.

IOPS book and icon shop on Russian buildings in Jerusalem
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

Opposite the Russian hospital, the Society had a shop with food. It sold goods in which pilgrims felt a special need: white and black bread, potatoes, cabbage, pickles, onions, dried mushrooms, peas, flour, croups of different varieties, sunflower and olive oil, salt, pasta, tea, coffee, sugar, jam, lemons, cheese, meat and fish canned food and many other food items. From the everyday goods in the shop were sold: soap, matches, needles, threads, buttons, candles, etc., as well as tickets for getting meals in a folk meal and tin cans for boiling water in a hot water. The prices in the shop, despite the fact that the goods were issued by the Palestinian Society mainly from Russia, were very moderate, The company was not guided by commercial calculations.
About the variety of harvested products in the company's compound can be judged by the letter of the managing director of the IOPS compounds Nikolai Mikhailov from November 23, 1906:
"November 23, 1906.

248 doc.

To the Authorized Representative

IOPS in Odessa

To Mikhail Ivanovich Osipov

I have the honor to inform you the Merciful Sovereign that the goods sent by you according to your notifications from:

September 26, 1906 for the number 167

October 30 ............ .. 176

10 ........................ .. No. 180

18 ......................... # 184

24 ........................ No. 191

31 ........................ # 203

............................ No. 204

November 7 ............... .. 216 I have fully received.

I invited a list of consumers for the establishment of the IOPS products, I most humbly ask you to buy and send to Jerusalem:

Potato 10 bags

Cabbage acidic 5 barrels

Cucumbers of non-feminine 30 barrels

Caviar red (tarima) 5 barrels

Bulls of dry 5 poods

Alcohol 1 barrel

Buckwheat groats 50 poods

......... millet 30 ....


Herring of the Danube large 400 pieces

Macaroni No. 7 15 poods

Fruit caramel 2 poods

............ ... stuffed with 3 poods

Sausage Moscow 3 poods

Cheese of Dutch 6 poods

...... ..the Lithuanian 3 poods

Sturgeon meat sturgeon 8 poods

Mustard oil 2 poods

......... sunflower 3 poods

Pastille square box 24

......... .... chopsticks 24 boxes

Sprats ½ boxes 36 boxes

............ 1/4 boxes of 60 boxes

Sturgeon marinated ½ to. 36

Mackerel ½ c. 36

Raspberry jam 24 bottles

............ cherry 24 bottles

............ strawberry 24 bottles

............ blackcurrant 24 bottles

36 bottles of marmalade

By notification number 190 - vobla not received 50 pieces. Bulls are completely unusable and dry mushrooms are also obtained all with worms.

The manager N. Mikhailov "[28]

Such an important and urgent problem as the people's baths has remained unsolved for decades. The building, built for this purpose, was transferred to the consular chambers. In his letter to the Managing Director of the Palestinian Commission B.P. Mansurov from 1879, the Chief of the Russian  ecclesiastical mission, Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) complains about the absence of bathhouses, believing that it is possible to find funds and heat the baths whenever the whole party from Jaffa is overtaken and polluted by our pilgrims.

View of the bathhouse and laundry in the courtyard of the Sergievsky compound in Jerusalem. XIX century.
Photo archive of the Jerusalem branch of the IOPS

In the construction of the New (Sergievsky) compound only by 1890, with a donation specially made for this purpose, a Russian bath was built, consisting of waiting, soap and steam baths and laundry facilities [29]. For the entrance to the bath for no more than 1.5 hours paid 5 wigs (about 10-12 cents). Wash in a bath was strictly forbidden. Pilgrims could wash clothes themselves in specially arranged premises for common chambers, using firewood bought at their own expense.

Worship of holy places:

The Holy Sepulcher, the shrine of the Olive, the Horn and the Old City of Jerusalem

On the third day after their arrival in Jerusalem, the pilgrims, accompanied by Kawas, went to the patriarchate to receive the blessing of the patriarch to visit the Holy places in the special room of the monastery of the holy emperors Constantine and Helena. The pilgrims received refreshments there and wrote down the names of their relatives for the commemoration. From the patriarchy, everyone went to the Holy Sepulcher church, where the Greek clergy led them with hymns to all holy places.

Caravan of Russian Orthodox pilgrims
sent accompanied by protection from Russian buildings in Jerusalem
to places of pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Photo of the late XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors"

On the fifth day in the morning pilgrims, accompanied by Kawas, went to the Alexander Compound, visiting the church of St. Alexander Nevsky, which is very close to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Here at the threshold of the Judgment Gate, there was a reading of the unsaved Psalter on the deceased members and benefactors of the Palestinian Society and those who wished could write here the names of their relatives with a fee of at least 30 rubles. The reading of the psalter was conducted by the nuns of the Gorniy Monastery. Then the pilgrims on the Via Dolorosa journeyed through the Gethsemane Gate (Lion gates - note Pavel Platonov) to the cave of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then to the Russian church of St. Mary Magdalene, from where they ascended the Mount of Olives to the place of the Ascension of the Lord, visited the Russian church on Eleon and a museum with the antiquities found here. After that the pilgrims returned to the Russian buildings of the Palestinian Society and after a short rest on the same day made a trip to Gorniy. There, pilgrims spent the night in a shelter arranged by Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), and in the morning attended the service in the church in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and visited places of interest belonging to Catholics: the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the source of St. John the Baptist, and others.

Russian Orthodox pilgrims on the square in front of the Church of the Holly Sepulcher
Ceremony of Wash feet on Holy Thursday Holy Week. Photo of the late XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox  Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

A few days later, on the announcement of the Office of the compounds, usually on Sunday pilgrims went to the temple mount of Jerusalem in the "Omar mosque" ("Kubat Sahra" - "Dome over the rock" - Pavel Platonov's note) where for the entrance the sheikh of the mosque was paid 2 wigs, that was 5 kopecks, and tourists and wealthy pilgrims who visited this place paid separately for 2 rubles and more. Then they went to the mosque of El Aksa, descending to the dungeons with a multitude of columns and perceiving the stories of guides that it was the temple of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as gullible tales.

Russian Orthodox pilgrims on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
opposite "Kubat Sahra" - "Domes above the rock" ("Omar mosque")
Photo of the monk Timon of the late XIX century.

Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

Pilgrims visited the Golden Gate, laid by Muslims, through the Zion Gate, to the Nabi-Daud mosque, where they were shown the tomb of King David, the Zion room of the descent of the Holy Spirit and the washing of feet, and also visited the Armenian monastery, where they examined the dungeon and the pillar of the scourging of the Savior, and half-abandoned Christian cemeteries [30], after which they returned to the farmsteads of the Palestinian Society [31].

Visit to Bethlehem and Oak of Mamre

Pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Hebron, the Jordan, the Forty-Day Mountain and Nazareth were made upon application to the office of the Society and on a special schedule from the Office of the compounds. For the journey, separate caravans were formed. Caravan was distinguished by the conductor of society, and if during the intensified influx of pilgrims the conductors were not enough, then the Office of the farmstead invited outsiders, but well-known guides from local residents. Each horse conductor was paid from 3 rubles 75 kopecks up to 5 rubles per day. The caravan was made with the presence of 15-20 people.

A caravan of Russian Orthodox pilgrims enters Bethlehem.
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem
The journey to Bethlehem and the Oak of Mamre was considered the easiest because of the insignificance of distances. After lunch, the caravan began its journey from the Russian buildings, walked through the Jaffa Gate, descending to the valley of the "Evil Conference", and then on the highway to Bethlehem. On the way pilgrims visited the monastery of St. the prophet Elijah, where they relaxed for a short time, then examined the well of the three wise men and passed by the monument of the foremother Rachel, they came back to Bethlehem early in the morning, where they immediately went to the Basilica of the Nativity of Christ and worshiped the Christmas nativity scene and Nursery. Then the pilgrims had dinner and had tea in the Greek monastery hotel of the monastery. Early in the morning we prayed during the Divine Liturgy at the Nativity of the Star of Bethlehem, accepting the blessing of the vicar of the Jerusalem Patriarch, the Metropolitan of Bethlehem, who left notes for his health and repose, and then after tea they went to Oak Mamre to get to Hebron before sunset.
Russian Orthodox pilgrims to the Oak of Mamre in Hebron.
Photo of the monk of Timon XIX century.

In Hebron, the pilgrims stopped at a shelter arranged by Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), where they were waited by a boiling samovar, a box and a cover for the donation, at the request of each pilgrim. On the morning of the next day, if there were clergy among the pilgrims, then the Mamvre Oak, with the blessing of the Chief of Mission, matins, and sometimes even the Liturgy, were performed. If there was no priest in the group, the pilgrims simply sang the troparion of the Blessed Trinity and rested under a still branchy shrine. In addition, pilgrims, accompanied by kawas, examined the surroundings of the Russian site, vineyards and climbed the mountain and the tower of Antonin (Kapustin) [32], to admire the surrounding species. The most zealous pilgrims went to Hebron, at least from afar to look at the ancient building that hides the tombs of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [33]. After that, the pilgrims gathered in a caravan and returned to Jerusalem by night [34].

Travel through Bethany to the Jordan and to the Dead Sea

After the return of the caravan from Hebron and the rest for the pilgrims in 4 days, as a rule, on the nearest Monday a special caravan was formed to depart for the Jordan.


The caravan of pilgrims goes to the holy river Jordan. Photo of the XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

On the way the pilgrims visited Bethany, where they sought to visit the cave of Lazarus, the Greek Orthodox monastery of the Meeting, where Sister Martha met the Savior. On the way from Jerusalem to Jericho, they stopped to rest in the hotel of the merciful Samaritan and in the evening, after reaching the village of Ericha (ancient Jericho - Pavel Platonov's comment) they went to the shelter, founded by father Antonin (Kapustin) with a large garden of oleanders, palms and lemon trees. Here for a moderate fee, pilgrims could use a night shelter and a samovar if they wished. Early in the morning pilgrims walked past the tower of Zacchaeus to the Dead Sea. Many pilgrims liked to swim in the Dead Sea with an indispensable swim in the Jordan.

Russian Orthodox pilgrims on the holy Jordan River
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

Bubble it, because of the abundant content of salt in the sea was a pleasure for many pilgrims. Then pilgrims visited the monastery of St. Gerasim of Jordan, and then went to the Jordan River for bathing, after which they rested and ate, visiting also the monastery of St. John the Baptist and returned to Jericho at night. Early in the morning pilgrims passed by the source of the prophet Elisha to the Forty-day mountain of Temptation, where the Lord fasted for 40 days and nights and was tempted by the devil, and here they were waited with a light meal from the hospitable monks of the monastery. After a brief rest, the caravan continued on its way to the monastery of St. George Hozevit with the cave of the prophet Elijah. From here the caravan with fast movement and short rest, on the same day returned to Jerusalem. Otherwise, he was to spend the night in the monastery of St. George Hozevit or in the monastery of the Meeting in Bethany. In the laurel of St. Sabbas (Mar Saba) the Sanctified was mostly traveled only by men and as a rule there was only one day's journey.  

Journey to Nazareth and Galilee

The most difficult and dangerous of pilgrimage trips was a trip to Nazareth. Usually a caravan of pilgrims was formed there just before the Feast of the Annunciation and followed through the cities of Nablus and Shechem, where Jacob's well is located, next to which the Lord spoke to the Samaritan woman. The way passed through villages unfriendly to pilgrims, therefore, through the governor-general of Jerusalem, the Society hired Turkish gendarmes, and also invited sheikhs-guides. Medical personnel were sent to help the sick on the way, donkeys and horses were hired for the weakened, and tents were taken for the shelter of the sick. The number of Kawas was hired in accordance with the size of the caravan. Such a journey, which included a review of the shrines of Tiberias, Tabor was 12-15 days, depending on the weather and the condition of the roads.

A caravan of Russian pilgrims rises to Mount Tabor. Photo of the monk of Timon XIX century
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

In Nazareth, pilgrims stopped at the courtyard of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, which was able to receive more than 1,000 people. For the accomodation and the place for overnight stays pilgrims did not pay anything, but with a lot of people the place cost in 1-2 wigs. Room with a separate bed and linen cost 1 rub. Poor pilgrims could get free boiling water for tea from two heated boilers. Also on the farmstead a hot borsch or soup was cooked on a symbolic fee of 1 wig [35]. Local residents from coreligionists, according to the customs of oriental hospitality, sent soup and rice porridge to the courtyard for free distribution to the poorest fans. Affluent could afford to order individual dinners cost up to 1 rub. In view of the fact that there was neither a chapel nor a church on the courtyard, if the weather permitted, prayers were arranged right in the yard. At the courtyard there were icons, vestments and liturgical books.
Russian Orthodox pilgrims on the shore of the Sea of ​​Galilee opposite the ruins of Tabha
The clergy, sailing on a boat serves as a water service ("moleben"). Photo of the monk Timon of the late XIX century.
Photo archive of the orthodox Society "Russia in colors" in Jerusalem

The caravans were in Nazareth for two days. On the first day pilgrims rested and attended Greek worship in the church of the Annunciation, visited a small mountain of Overthrow, where there was a church built by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society with the money of Russian philanthropist Maria Kiseleva and also visited a large mountain of Overthrow, where they admired views of Tabor, Carmel, Nain and the Ezdrelonian Valley. On the following day, everyone attended the Liturgy on the Feast of the Annunciation, which was sung, mostly in Church Slavonic. After a rest and lunch, which was arranged for the wealthy pilgrims, they visited the Catholic basilica of the Annunciation and other local shrines. Then the caravan ascended Mount Tabor and continued on its way to Tiberias, and from there to Jerusalem through Cana of Galilee, visiting the church in the name of St. George the Victorious, built on the means of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society [36].

Visit the holy mountain of Sinai and the monastery of St. Catherine

The organization of pilgrimage trips to Sinai was carried out by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society as a rule in January-February, or in late April-early May, after receiving the Holy Fire in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem at the late Easter. The usual number of pilgrims during the formation of the caravan ranged from 35 to 70 people. Although, as noted by the "Guide for Russian Pilgrims" of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society of 1907, since the beginning of the 20th century there has been a noticeable tendency for the increase of pilgrims who wish to visit Sinai. [37] In view of the difficulties of the way and the distance from Jerusalem to the Sinai Peninsula, the cost of the pilgrimage entirely fell on the pilgrims themselves. The Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society did not subsidize these trips, but allocated its own guide, who knows the language, and is well acquainted with the conditions of travel and the specifics of the trip to Sinai. The price of the trip to Sinai ranged from 31 rubles 50 copecks up to 45 rubles, depending on the number of participants in the trip.
The caravan route from Jerusalem passed: first by rail from Jerusalem to Jaffa, then from there pilgrims boarded a Russian or foreign ship, sailing from Jaffa to Egypt to Port Said; From Port Said to Suez, pilgrims followed the train. Here in Suez on the well-maintained farmstead of the Sinai Monastery of St. wlm. Catherine pilgrims reserved provisions just enough to suffice on the way to Sinai and on the way back. In Suez, they had to wait patiently for a steamer going to El Tor or to the ancient Raif, who regularly flew their flights every two weeks: on the 1st and 15th of every month. The journey took about 12 hours. The pilgrims also had the opportunity to carry out a sea voyage on a sailing Arab barque, but this method was rarely used, because of the danger in bad weather to stay 2-3 days in the sea. Also, another way of traveling was practiced - land on camels, which in former times was the only one. The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society did not recommend this way, because pilgrims had to travel in the scorching heat for 9 days, and with intensified moves for 5 days. In a place devoid of water sources, with the unaccustomed ride on camels, such a trip could become even dangerous. Therefore, an easier, attractive and convenient waterway along the Red Sea to Sinai through Raifu [38] or El Tor [39] was preferable.

In Raif, pilgrims had the opportunity to stop at the well-arranged farmstead of the Sinai Monastery for a donation according to the capabilities of each. In these places pilgrims visited warm Moiseyev springs, known as "baths", a garden with many date palms and the notorious "Zvon-Gora" (Calling Mountain - note of Pavel Platonov). As explained by the IOPS instruction from 1907: "Zvon-Gora", known among pilgrims for its legendary miraculous stories, in reality has nothing to see. Traveling to it can be considered an idle curiosity, not rewarding the work of pilgrims, who have an intention to visit this mountain by all means "[40].

From Raifa to Sinai, pilgrims traveled for two days on camels, suffering the hardships of the journey as a rule only for the first four hours, when the caravan moved from sea to mountain through free-flowing sands, but then, as the caravan was removed to majestic and picturesque granite rocks, often covered with unknown picturesque drawings, the path became more diverse, interesting and exciting. More often there were brooks of fresh water, lawns with green grass, and whole groups of tall palms, in the shade of which tired pilgrims could spend their rest at rest in a hot midday. Thus, gradually, without noticing difficulties and admiring the surrounding landscapes, early in the morning on the third day of the journey, the monastery bells entered the monastery of St. Catherine, where the pilgrims were greeted by the friendly monks of the monastery. In former times, due to the dangers of Muslim attack, pilgrims ascended the walls of the monastery in the frying pan, by the second half of the XIX century and further this tradition had departed to the region of tradition and pilgrims, as today, entered the monastery through the central monastic gates. Pilgrims were accommodated in rooms with bed linens and a decent decor with a large Russian samovar in the room, which is an ornament and an integral part of the interior of the room. After a bit of rest and changing clothes, accompanied by a monk who obedience at the hotel, they visited the basilica of the Transfiguration of the Lord, founded by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Here the pilgrims were attached to the head and to the right hand of St.  Catherine, admiring the beauty of the decoration of the basilica, the majesty of monolithic columns, the beauty of the marble floor. From the basilica, through the low door on the right side, along the carpets spread out, taking off their shoes, go to the side of the Kupina (Burning Bush - note of Pavel Platonov), where the Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Saturdays. A semicircular small niche, adorned with silver, a multitude of ancient icons and unquenchable lamps, surrounds the place where St. the prophet Moses saw the fire that could not be burned.

Sinai monastery of St. Catherine in the valley of Er Raha
Photo by English photographer Francis Frith 1859

This order of visiting the shrines of the monastery remained today.
In the pre-revolutionary period, according to the established rules of the monastery, pilgrimage caravans enjoyed its hospitality for 7-9 days. If the pilgrims wanted to stay in the monastery, they asked for a blessing from the Hegumen Archbishop. And all this time the payment for the hotel from the pilgrims was not charged. Like the farmsteads in Suez and Raif, the pilgrims left a donation to the monastery, depending on their material capacities.

During his stay in the monastery of St. Catherine pilgrims visited Mount Horeb with a temple in honor of the prophet Elijah and a cave with him, in which, after fleeing from Jezebel, he lived for a while, and also the holy mountain of Sinai, where the Lord handed down the 10 commandments to the prophet Moses. On top of Sinai there is an Orthodox church in the name of St. Trinity, Moslem mosque and rock cleft, in which Moses was temporarily to see the back of the Lord God walking past. [41]

Spending the night in the valley of Leja in the monastery garden of St. 40 martyrs with a comfortable shelter, from here the pilgrims surveyed the surroundings and the rock from which Moses allegedly blew water for thirsty Jews and made a difficult ascent to Mount St. Catherine, there to worship the place where the relics of St. Catherine the Great were found. After descending from this mountain and sightseeing in the Ledja Valley and the Rach Desert, full of biblical memories - about the parking of Jews under the law, the worship of the golden calf, the breaking of the first tablets by Moses, the erection of the serpent to the cross to get rid of snake bites, the pilgrims returned to the monastery of St. Catherine.

Pilgrimage tours were accompanied by an experienced monk of this monastery.

Before the return journey, the pilgrims communed with the Holy Mysteries in the side-chapel of the Burning Bush of the Transfiguration Church and received from the monks the blessing of vatu and the consecrated rings from the relics of Sts. Catherine.

Having received a sufficient supply of bread, water, cheese and dates for the road, the bells rang out from the monastery and followed the camels to El Tor or Raif. Then on steamers to Suez, with a visit to the garden with 70 sources and 70 date palms, and from there they went to Port Said and Jaffa.

All the trip to Sinai, under favorable circumstances, took at least three weeks, and if delayed with a steamer and bad weather, it could last up to five.

Visit to Matarie (Egypt)

The most enterprising and wealthy pilgrims after the trip to Sinai could visit Cairo after Suez to visit the town of Matarie (suburb of the city), where they were shown the church on the site of the Mother of God and the rights. Joseph, when they fled with the God-given Jesus from Herod, who was looking for the "soul of the Youth", the ancient sycamore, under which the holy parents of the Lord and the well rested on the way, from which, according to the Catholic tradition, they drew water for domestic needs. In Cairo, pilgrims visited the citadel of the city, with the dungeon of Joseph, and in ancient Cairo outside the city the ancient monastery of St. wlm. George with the miraculous icon of the Virgin and the multicolumn dungeon, which served as a place of confinement for the nervously sick, brought for healing from the miraculous icon. Here there was also an ancient Nile water meter.
In earlier times, pilgrims found themselves premises in the courtyard of the Sinai monastery, called Juvaniya, and could have there, even a Russian samovar, but by the beginning of the 20th century. When the old Juvaniya was sold and a new premise for the brotherhood of the monastery outside the city was acquired, the shelter in it for pilgrims no longer existed, and they had to stop at city hotels. In Cairo and Alexandria, there were guides - Arabs, who offered their services to our pilgrims on the boat, and even through newspapers that did not deserve special trust. It was in their interest to take as many Russian pilgrims as possible, and give them as little as possible from their side. [42]

The return of pilgrims to their homeland

For 5-6 days before the departure to the homeland, pilgrims took their foreign passports from the office of the Sergievsky metochion in Jerusalem, if they were deposited, and presented it to the Russian Consul General in Jerusalem for printing and a note that the bearer of the passport actually visited Jerusalem, since without a consular visas the cheapened pilgrim passport when entering Russia was accepted as ordinary, and in this case the owner of this passport was charged a fine equal to the cost of an ordinary passport of about 20 K. For the receipt of a visa at the consulate, pilgrims paid one megidium (about 1 ruble 60 kopecks) and, in addition, a fixed fee was collected from each pilgrim to the Russian hospital in Constantinople, in the amount of 50 kopecks gold. Those pilgrims who arrived from Athos, and who had already paid hospital fees in Constantinople, did not pay the fee again. Pilgrims returning from Jerusalem to Russia, if they wished, could visit Athos on their way, without any additional payment, since the ticket they bought in Odessa for the journey from Jaffa and back, gave them the right to stop at Daphne on Mount Athos, and as when they went to Jaffa, and on the way back. The same principle applied to Constantinople: if the pilgrim did not have time to examine the most important shrines of Constantinople, he was given the full opportunity to visit them on his return to Russia.

On his return from Constantinople to Odessa, when the steamer entered the Russian waters, the captain of the steamer took the passports from the pilgrims, prepared in advance by them. Upon arrival in Odessa, the captain returned passports and a check was made directly on the ship in the presence of gendarmes, which caused each pilgrim in turn, just as before leaving Odessa for the Holy Land. Without a passport, the exit from the ship was forbidden. Those who had overdue passports did not receive them in their hands, and when they left the ship last accompanied by a gendarme, they went to the branch of the ship's office to pay a fine at the customs office for the delay of the passport. If the passport was overdue for a grace period of one month, it was not subject to a fine. If the pilgrim did not have enough money to pay the fine, he gave a subscription to pay the fine due to him at his place of residence [43].

Having received the passport on the ship from the gendarme, the pilgrim passed through the customs for inspection of things, if there were not a few pilgrims, they went to the branch of the ship's office, where the customs inspection took place. At the arrival of large batches of pilgrims, their luggage during the passport check was unloaded and laid out next to the ship across the whole mole space, and in order to prevent extraneous persons, the location of the luggage was fenced off with special slingshots. After completing the check on the ship, the pilgrims themselves searched for their belongings, standing near them in anticipation of customs inspection. When inspecting pilgrims, it was not recommended to hide or conceal anything; everything hidden during the examination was still selected, and a fine was also collected. Therefore, the pilgrims themselves told the inspector what was in their baggage. Icons written on the tree, if they were without silver and gold ornaments (coronets and riz), were allowed to go duty-free, but only if the customs inspectors did not suspect that these icons were exported for later sale in Russia. In view of this, pilgrims were advised to bring with them only a small number of icons - no more than 10.
The same was true of the funerary covers that the pilgrims carried for themselves and their relatives. The duty was not raised only if the amount covered did not exceed 5. The same principle existed when carrying a large number of crosses, rosaries, various grades of odorous oils and other things. At the end of customs formalities pilgrims were sent either to the monastery of Athos monastery, or at their discretion, hiring carts to transport their belongings. At the same time pilgrims were advised to carefully monitor their belongings when loading things into the cart and following the route through the city streets in order to avoid various misunderstandings.

Before leaving home from Odessa, the pilgrims were obliged to personally come to Odesa town governor and exchange their pilgrimage passports for those documents that were provided upon receipt of the passport. Those pilgrims who received a foreign passport in Odessa on passing gubernatorial tickets received their documents from the office of the Odessa mayor on arrival in their provincial city, exchanging them for residence permits left in the office of the local governor. [44]
Such a picture evolved before the revolution. After the events of 1917, The connection between Russia and the Holy Land ceases, and pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Russia was under the authority of Soviet regime, Russian buildings were ruined and use for other purposes by the Turks, the British, and then Israelis, despite all the efforts of Russian emigrants, caught up in the Holy Land after World War I and the revolution of 1917 year, to save the property of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Of the Society. The apogee of ruin came in 1964, when the Society incurred colossal losses as a result of the signing between the Soviet government and the State of Israel so-called "orange" transaction ", according to which the Orthodox Palestine Society lost all the farmsteads, except Sergievsky, which is returned to Russia 28 December 2008.

Pilgrimage along the line of the Orthodox Palestine Society completely has ceased. On the part of the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy during this period, only small groups of pilgrims, consisting, as a rule, of representatives clergy and staff of the Moscow Patriarchate. On the part of the ROCOR and Russian foreign Evlogian parishes [45] came a few pilgrims from the Russian emigration, for whom the bishop Methodius (Kuhlman) wrote his guide to the Holy Land. Indigenous The situation changed with the fall of the Soviet state in 1991year, when pilgrims were able to freely visit the Holy Earth and through the Russian Orthodox Church and its representation in the person of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, began to revive traditions of Russian Orthodox pilgrimage. Since December 1993 The pilgrimage is gaining mass character. Every year interest in pilgrimage only increases and the traditional flow of Russian pilgrims can not stop any political conflicts or local armed conflicts.

Gradually, the traditions of the IOPS activity are reviving, including Holy Land. Groups of pilgrims began to come to the Holy Land, organized by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. AT Russia, mainly in Moscow, holds conferences on the topic of Russian spiritual and cultural presence in the Holy Land, are arranged exhibition, the editions of the Orthodox The Palestinian collection. The Company's activities are promoted both in various print media, and in the media. In 2005, in the Jerusalem University on Mount Scopus, an international conference was held "Jerusalem in the Russian spiritual tradition", which was the beginning a good tradition of reviving the multifaceted activities that The society has historically held in the Holy Land. Since 2008 the building Sergievsky compound returned to Russia. Since 2009, efforts Jerusalem Branch of the IOPS at Sergievsky Compound was revived the tradition of reading for pilgrims, named - Sergiev Readings. On them thousands of Russian Orthodox pilgrims visited. Pilgrims of the XXI century return to their roots - a deep spiritual connection between Russia and the Holy land.

At the end of 2016, restoration work at the Sergievsky Compound was fully completed. In 2017, the building was transferred to the management Russian Orthodox Church. Currently open here Sunday School of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, enlightenment work. It is planned to open a museum. But because of organizational and legal difficulties the farmstead in full force has not yet earned, and free access to it is closed.

Chairman of the Jerusalem Branch
Of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society

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[1] B.P. Mansurov. Report on the measures to improve the life of Russian Orthodox worshipers in Palestine. Part IV. What else is to be done to improve the life of Russian fans in Palestine and especially in Jerusalem SPb. 1860. pages 67-70. IOPS archive at Sergievsky Compound in Jerusalem.

[2] N.N. Lisovoy. "Russian spiritual and political presence in the Holy Land and the Middle East in the XIX beginning of the XX century." Chapter 4. p.117. Publishing house "Indrik". Moscow. 2006

[3] In early 1884, a member of the Orthodox Palestine Society, Dr. A.V. Yeliseyev with a brief instruction: "To live 2-3 months among the fans and to present a true record of what was seen and heard." The book he published on his return "opened in all the terrible nakedness the dreary position of pilgrims". (Report of the PPO for 1885-1886, St. Petersburg, 1886 pp. 4-5). Quoted from NN Lisova. "Russian spiritual and political presence in the Holy Land and the Middle East in the XIX beginning of the XX century." Chapter 4. page 122. Publishing house "Indrik". Moscow. 2006

[4] IOPS Charter on the website Russia in colors.

[5] N.N. Lisovoi. V.N. Khitrovo is the founder of the IOPS. Publishing of the Pilgrim Center of the Moscow Patriarchate. Moscow, 2003, page 35

[6] The cost of travel to Jerusalem and to Athos on pilgrimage books. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 1. Archive of the Sergievsky farmstead in Jerusalem.

[7] V.N. Khitrovo. What are the ways of Russian pilgrims to the Holy Land // IPOPS reports. 1901. T. XII. Issue. 3 pp. 316.

[8] Copyrights Compendium of the IOPS Compound in Jerusalem No. 4 of Dec. 23 1892 to January 2, November 1893. The IOPS Archive at the Sergievsky Compound in Jerusalem.

[9] The collection of laws and orders of the Government, published at the Governing Senate. September 15, 1889 103. Art. 858. p. 2038-2039. Quoted from NN Lisova. "Russian spiritual and political presence in the Holy Land and the Middle East in the XIX beginning of the XX century." Chapter 4. page 216. M. Publishing House "Indrik". Moscow. 2006

[10] N.N. Lisovoi. "Russian spiritual and political presence in the Holy Land and the Middle East in the XIX beginning of the XX century." Chapter 4. page 182. Publishing house "Indrik". Moscow. 2006

[11] A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Constantinople-Athos-Jaffa-Jerusalem-Bethlehem-Jordan-Hebron-Nazareth-Sinai-Matarië. Edition of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. St.P. 1907

[12] The fare on the steamers from the ports of the Black Sea to Jaffa and Athos. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 6

[13] Documents required for correcting a foreign passport. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 7

[14] Ibid., P. 10

[15] About shipping tickets and luggage. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 12

[16] Ibid. Departure of their Odessa and checking of foreign passports. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 16

[17] Ibid. Food on the boat. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 17

[18] Ibid. Stay in Constantinople. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 18

[19] Women on Athos are not allowed.

[20] Kaimakam (from the Arab "standing on (someone's) place") - in Turkey, the title of governor, governor of the district.

[21] Visit to Mount Athos. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 18-21

[22] There were wagons of the two classes on the Jaffa Railway, and class II carriages corresponded to the third class of Russian railways.

[23] Stay in Jaffa. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 22

[24] The fee was charged by francs or Turkish piastres. They also used Russian money, but at the rates of the cabmen.

[25] Arrival in Jerusalem and a meeting of Russian pilgrims in the courtyard. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 23

[26] Ibid. The room is in separate rooms. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 26

[27] Ibid. Food in the dining rooms I and II class. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 29

[28] Photocopy book No. 14 of the IOPS home. Letters from No. 95-1906 to No. 52-1908 from June 1, 1906 to March 21, 1908, p. 216. The IOPS archive at the Sergievsky Compound in Jerusalem.

[29] From the inventory of the property of the Sergievsky compound of 1910

[30] Already from 1907, the place for burial of the departed Russian pilgrims by the efforts of Fr. Chief of Mission Fr. Leonidas were arranged next to the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, where the poor were given free graves, and for the wealthy, without taking out the bones after three years for a fee.

[31] Worship of the Holy places of Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity: the mountains of the Olive and the hills of Gornia. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 38

[32] Father Antonin's tower is still in the compound of St. Patriarchs of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Hebron.

[33] The entrance to the mosque, where the ashes of St. The forefathers were not allowed then.

[34] Visit to Bethlehem and Oak of Mambria. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 38

[35] Parchets - small Turkish coins during the Ottoman Empire.

[36] Ibid. Travel to Nazareth. Edition IOPS. St.P. 1907 page 46

[37] "In recent years there has been a marked increase in the composition of the Sinai caravans. For example, on January 12, 1908, there were 152 pilgrims from Jerusalem to Sinai, 111 of them women. " A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East p.101

[38] Raifa is an ancient monastic settlement on the Sinai Peninsula, founded as early as the beginning of the 4th century.

[39] El Tor is a port city on the southern coast of the Sinai Peninsula.

[40] Visit to the Sinai Mount of God. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Publishing the IOPS. St. Petersburg. 1907 page 47

[41] Ibid.

[42] Visit to Matarie (in Egypt). A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Publishing the IOPS. St. Petersburg. 1907 p.50

[43] Return to Russia and audit of foreign passports. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Publishing the IOPS. St. Petersburg. 1907 page 54

[44] Customs clearance in Odessa. A short guide to Orthodox Russian pilgrims going to worship the holy places of the East. Publishing the IOPS. St. Petersburg. 1907 pp. 55-56

[45] Western European Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church - abolished in 1990, the foreign exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate; September 7, 1945, the resolution of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on the "reunification of the governed" Metropolitan Evlogy (Georgievsky) parishes with the Moscow Patriarchate and their preservation as the Exarchate of the ROC.

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