|St. George's Church|
|Location||Burqin, West Bank|
|Affiliation||Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem|
Burqin Church (Arabic: كنيسة برقين) or St. George's Church (كنيسة القديس جاورجيوس) is a Byzantine-era Orthodox Christian church in the Palestinian West Bank town of Burqin. It is considered to be the fifth-oldest Christian holy place and the third-oldest church in the world. The church has been restored several times and is currently in use by the village's small Orthodox Christian community.
According to Christian tradition, Jesus had passed through Burqin on his way to Jerusalem from Nazareth and as he was passing by the village he heard cries for help from ten lepers who were living isolated. He encountered them and told them to present themselves to the priests, although they were not yet cured. On their way disappeared their lepracy. One of them who was from Samaria returned to Jesus to give thanks. Jesus blamed the nine who did not recognize that their healing was God's gift in the person of Jesus. This faith is the real salvation. The passage can be read in the Gospel of Luke 17,11-19. Since this miracle, the church became a station for many Christian pilgrims.
Excavations show that the church passed through four different historical periods. The first church was built during the Byzantine era in the cave where the miracle took place. The cave appeared to be a Roman cistern, having an opening at the top and containing an altar. During the 6th–9th centuries it was gradually extended to the front of the cave. Afterwards the church was abandoned for unapparent reasons, but was renovated during the 12th century and enclosed by a stone wall. In the 13th century the church was used as a school. Today, it is composed of the leper cave and an 18th-century-era hall and nave.
The administration of the site have said they discovered old remains when they renovated the church, such as oil lamps, Bibles and stamps, in addition to three big Roman-era wells.
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