Burqin & The Church of the 10 LepersA picturesque tiny Palestinian village and the 4th oldest church in the world!
Burqin is a tiny Palestinian town, some few kilometers west of Jenin. The village dates back to the 14th century BCE when it was first mentioned in one of the Egyptian Amarna letters as one of several cities which were captured by the Canaanite warlord Lab’ayu in the Dothan Valley. It is likely that Josephus was refering to Burqin village when he mentioned a place calles Borceos at the border between Samaria and the Galilee area.
Today, Burqin is home to some 6.000 people, most of them of Muslim faith with some 20 Christian families among them.
The Byzantine-era Burqin “Church of the 10 Lepers” is one the of the oldest churches in the world. Its earliest foundations were laid not much later than those of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The church has been restored several times. During the work and excavations remarkable findings have been made, among them ancient oil lamps and bibles dating back more than 400 years.
The biblical tradition related to the church is the healing of 10 people from the village suffering from lepers by Jesus while he was on his way to Jerusalem from Nazareth. The story is mentioned in Luke 17:11-19.
The church has been an important place of Christian pilgrimage since ancient times while today also Muslims are frequently visiting the place commemorating the miracle. The local Christian community welcomes visitors from all over the world and Christians of any denomination are welcome to hold a service inside the church, the enchanting garden or the small adjacent chapel.
There are also two large cisterns beneath the church which can be accessed by a steep ladder (no lights inside!). Restrooms are also available along with picnic tables and the parish usually has some local products like hand-made olive oil soap for sale.