Holy Land Gifts supports Christian artists living in the Holy Land – you probably already know that much! What you might not know is that Christians, once thriving in the area commonly referred to as the Holy Land, are being uprooted. Those who remain are constantly under threat from others seeking to persecute them, and finding life-sustaining employment is a difficult endeavor. Despite what some officials say, Christians living in the Holy Land regularly face discrimination, which is why our support of this cottage industry is so important to their survival.
A Brief History of Christians in the Holy Land
As Christ was ultimately persecuted and put to death , so it seems that Christians living in the Holy Land have rarely enjoyed peace; in the year 66 AD, just 33 years after Jesus rose from the dead, the Jewish Rebellion ignited a fierce war with Rome, forcing Christians to flee. By the year 70 AD, Titus and his Roman army were in control; even the Jewish people had their temple destroyed, along with much of the rest of Jerusalem. Turmoil continued during the first centuries until the year 313, when the Edict of Milan put a stop to the persecution of Christians.
In the year 335, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was dedicated, and four years later, in 339, the Church of the Nativity was established in Bethlehem. Between 362 and 365,the Emperor Julian promised to rebuild the ancient Jewish temple and re-establish paganism, but by 391, Emperor Theodosius outlawed paganism and made Christianity the Roman Empire’s official religion.
Turmoil and peace alternated with Christianity continuing to thrive until in 1009, Muslim Caliph Al Hakim destroyed many churches including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during a massive campaign to persecute Christians. Eventually, the church was rebuilt, and as the centuries passed, power continued to shift.
Many Holy Land sites have been destinations for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religious pilgrimages ever since Biblical times, which is why the area is so often fought over. People from all these major faiths visit the Holy Land to see and touch sites and symbols related to their faiths, which helps to deepen belief and allow them to connect more personally to the divine. The Holy Land is special to many people from all over the world, and while persecution of Christians does continue, many non-Christians and followers of Judaism and Islam do believe that Christianity should continue to have a presence in the area.
How You Can Help
Helping Christian families living in the Holy Land is very easy. By holding a church fundraiser or conducting a mission project, you can help to make life better for these dedicated artisans who continue to use ancient techniques to create beautiful and unique products that allow you to enjoy a personal connection with the land where Jesus was born and where he lived his life.
Finally, you can help Christians in the Holy Land by praying for their well-being and safety. These people, like us, are part of our Christian family, united by Christ.