The traditional baptism ceremony attended by 3000 pilgrims from all over the world was held on March 31 2010 at the “Land of the Monasteries” (Qasr al-Yahud) baptismal site in the Jordan Valley.
The traditional baptism ceremony is held every year and attracts the leads of the Sorani, Orthodox and Coptic communities who come to pray and be baptized at the site. The ceremonies, which take place with the coordination of the IDF and church leaders, are held on two main days: Easter (during April) and the Epiphany Holiday (January 18-19).
The event is organized by the Civil Administration under Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Deri, Head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration in Jericho, in conjunction with IDF and the Israel Police.
For the first time, during this year’s ceremony, the pilgrims were permitted to baptize in the river and this by virtue of the renovations to the site undertaken by the civil administration since the beginning of the year. During the ceremonies, the pilgrims bathed in the Jordan River and thereafter held payers at two focal points: the prayer plaza and at the waterfront.
The ‘Qasr al-Yahud’ baptism site, on the banks of the Jordan River, is the third most important site in Christendom, and is identified as the site at which, according to Christian tradition, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
According to Jewish tradition, this is the site where the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River after their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and is also the site where the prophet Elijah ascended to the heavens in a chariot of fire and transferred his mantle of prophecy to Elishah.
The site is open to the public (with advance coordination) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 9:00-13:00.
An organized paid tour for groups in various languages can be reserved at telefax: 02-6541255