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JERICHO: January 20, 2022
The Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Church Abroad and administrators of Judea and Samaria visit the de-mined Jordan River site of the REM

On January 10, 2022, the de-mined site on the Jordan River belonging to the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Church Abroad was visited by Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the REM, along with officials of Judea and Samaria. Representatives of the Israeli Army were likewise present, along with officials of the nations nature preservation organizations and national parks.

The visit was made to examine the parcel of land in preparation for a blessing of waters later held on January 19, as well as to discuss development plans and land use in coming years. In particular, construction plans were considered to enable the performance of divine services and the reception of pilgrims on this ROCOR property, which lies opposite a Russian pilgrims center built across the river in 2012 in Jordan.

Archimandrite Roman told Lieutenant Colonel Amos Tvito that it was encouraging to know that for the first time in 50 years, the historic and holy site of the REM could be accessed.

In 1936, the British government of Palestine apportioned several sites on the Jordan River to various Christian confessions on its west bank near the site of the Baptism of the Savior. Archbishop Anastassy (Gribanovsky), Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem at the time and future First Hierarch of ROCOR, obtained this site for the Mission, comprising approximately 10,000 square meters.

Later, a small building was erected on the site for security, and a chapel built in its center. Abbot Ignaty (Raksha, +1986), the Missions agronomist, established a beautiful garden on the site. It was irrigated by the Jordan River via pump. The canalization he built exists to this day. Despite the desert-like environs, regular care can return the parcel to blossom, where various types of food can be cultivated.

The Jordan parcel was often visited by the nuns of the REM, pilgrims and Russians living in the Holy Land, especially on the Eve of the Epiphany of the Lord, when Christians from all over Palestine would visit.

After the 1967 war, the site was sealed off since it was in the demarcation zone between Jordan and Israel. Due to the standoff between the nations that lasted until 1994, when the Jordan-Israeli Peace Treaty was signed, the entire area was mined, including the REMs and neighboring parcels.

In 2017, the Defense Ministry of Israel, jointly with the international organization HALO TRUST, began to clear the region of mines and unexploded shells. In 2019, a 10-kilometer area was carefully cleared.

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