After the first overnight stay in Jerusalem, on the eve of Easter, pilgrims visit Bethlehem, which is also the city of King David. Above the cave where the cattle were kept, and then the baby Jesus was born, stands the Church of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The holiest place in the church is marked with a star, which at first belonged to the Orthodox, then was allegedly stolen by the Catholics: even the Turks, who owned Israel in those days, participated in history. Then the star was miraculously found and returned to its place – and today it is possible and even supposed to be touched by every true Christian. And having touched it, you can leave Bethlehem, because there is nothing more connected with Christianity there.
There are travel companies that, saving on hotels, lodge pilgrims in Bethlehem: everyday people are forced to dangle back and forth. It’s not that far, but it’s stupid to spend time traveling when you can settle in Jerusalem itself, albeit a little more expensive. And not in East Jerusalem, but in the West. Pilgrims still have a very conditional opportunity to settle in the territory belonging to the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, for example, in monastic cells – but we must bear in mind that the number of places is limited. For example, in the famous Gornensky monastery there are only 20 of them, and it must be taken into account that only women are allowed there – the monastery is for women.
In this regard, it is at least strange that the holy fathers in the Russian Mission meet travel agencies that bring pilgrims, almost as competitors. Meanwhile, most often these are respectable travel agencies, and they lodge their clients in hotels, and not in monasteries, also because they are obliged to sell a certified product (hotels, not incomprehensible what) and do not want problems with visas. And clients – pilgrims – should not rush to offers of cheap trips from the Moscow Patriarchate, since advertising often turns out to be false, and the patriarch sometimes has no idea that he gave such an undertaking a blessing.