Dead Sea, Sept. 22 (Petra)–Members of a government Armenian delegation who have just concluded a several-day tour to Jordan said they would come back again to the Kingdom but on private visits to bring their family members. Standing eastern bank of the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized, the officials from the foreign ministry of the former Soviet republic stressed that they would promote Jordan, the biblical land, to younger generation in their country to know more about the roots of Christianity. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its religion in the early years of the 4th century.
“This is my second time to Jordan but the first to the Baptism Site,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Manasaryan, who noted that it was hard for him to describe his feelings towards the spirituality of the place as he was walking out of the river.
“I will do my best to come back again soon but with my family,” he added.
For Manasaryan it is crucial for young Armenians to know more about the roots of Christianity and the religious site is the perfect place for this purpose.
According to the official, Armenians know that Jordan is a holy land for Christians, but he acknowledged that tourism traffic between Amman and Yerevan is still at low levels.
However, Manasaryan expressed optimism that tourists flow between the two countries would strengthen in the months to follow as the Armenian church at the Baptism Site is set to be open in the near future.
“Almost 90 per cent of the church construction is ready now,” he pointed out.
As the official delegation toured archaeological site at the holy place, they commended the level of services provided by Jordan.
It is so good to see that several churches have been built just next to the river and the pilgrims are visiting this place on daily basis to take a breath of peace,” a member of the Armenian delegation said while walking from the River site back to the main entrance.
“The remains found are proving the authenticity of the site and you can sense the peace and tranquillity during the walk,” Manasaryan to describe what he saw.
Among these sites is the place were Jesus was baptized, where the remains of five churches uniquely designed and built since the 5th century as memorials of Jesus baptism can be seen. Other important sites of the Baptism Site include Elijah’s Hill, Cave Church, the Pools, The Bethany Saphsaphas, The Church of Arch and John the Baptist Spring among others.
The site of John the Baptist’s settlement at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from the Byzantine and medieval texts.
The site has now been identified on the east bank of the Jordan River, in Jordan, and is being systematically surveyed, excavated, restored, and prepared to receive pilgrims and visitors. Bethany Beyond the Jordan is located half an hour by car from Amman.
The Bethany area sites formed part of the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mount Nebo.
The Armenian delegation had other archaeological attractions to see during a tour organised by the Jordan Tourism Board as they visited the Roman Amphitheatre in downtown Amman as well as the Citadel, which overlooks the capital.
“I expect hundreds of tourists from Armenia would be visiting Jordan next year to experience the spirituality of the holy land,” Manasaryan remarked.
22/9/2012 – 03:12:24 PM