Working on what will be our CD Vol. 3 “The Ark of the Covenant – Its journey from Sinai to Jerusalem,” we are spending time in Kiriath Yearim, where the Ark was kept for twenty years before David brought it to Jerusalem. In the early part of the twentieth century, a determined French nun made the acquisition of this site on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the demonstration that it was the Biblical Kiriath Yearim and the building of a church, convent and retreat centre, her life’s work. She had the basilica built over the remains of a church of the fifth century, using the same quarry as the Byzantine builders. It turns out that the church is now recognised as having “arguably the best acoustics in the country!”
Having used the retreat centre as a Jerusalem-base for our tour group some years ago, we can testify to the sublime views from this hilltop site towards the city. If you are in Jerusalem, with Sukkot coming up, there is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to hear beautiful music performed in this church and also in the Crypt of the Crusader Church in the village of Abu Ghosh at the bottom of the hill. The programme of the 38th Abu Ghosh Vocal Music Festival is here, with further information on this site.