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Abstract

Religion and spirituality are common motivations for travel, with many major tourist destinations having developed largely because of their connections to sacred people, places and events. Pilgrimages are one of the most important forms domestic tourism in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. On November 16 of every year, the church of St. George in Lod is filled with hundreds of worshippers who arrive for the Feast of St. George / Khidr, the day commemorating the translation of his relics to the church at the heart of Lod. Pilgrims travel from Nazareth and Bethlehem and as far away as Jordan to receive the blessing of the saint, who is the patron saint of Palestine. They light candles together in what is one of the last truly shared feasts between Muslims and Christians in the region. This feast, itself multifaceted and expressing the pluralism within the society, together with its readiness to develop inter~faith relations and embracing multiculturalism, is a truly heterogeneous activity which can surely merit being called a ‘post-modern’ pilgrimage. Driven by this circumstance, my main objective in this research is to present an in-depth analysis of the current state of the Saint George cult in Lod and pilgrimage dedicated to his shrine. In this paper, I will first give conceptual information about landscape of Lod in Israel and the sanctuary of St George and then try to depict the general panorama of rituals and interreligious coexistence (Christians, Muslims and lately secular Jewish tourists) in and around the shrine. Then I will sketch out the main characteristics and the drastic change in the pilgrimage during the modern period, by, taking into consideration the hagiography and the veneration of Saint George in Israel / Palestine, migration, festivalization of the pilgrimage and tourism, which have essential roles in understanding the feast day of Saint George.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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