Saturday, January 8, 2011

Emmaus-Nicopolis/Imwas

The first modern site identification of Emmaus was by the explorer Edward Robinson, who equated it with the Palestinian Arab village of Imwas. Before its destruction in 1967, the village of Imwas was located at the end of the Ayalon Valley, on the border of the hill country of Judah, at 153 stadia (18.6 miles) from Jerusalem via the Kiryat Yearim Ridge Route, 161 stadia (19.6 miles) via the Beth-Horon Ridge Route and 1,600 feet (490 m) lower by elevation.

Eusebius was probably the first to mention Nicopolis as biblical Emmaus in his Onomasticon. Jerome, who translated Eusebius’ book, implied in his letter 108 that there was a church in Nicopolis built in the house of Cleopas where Jesus broke bread on that late journey. From the 4th century on, the site was commonly identified as the biblical Emmaus.

Archaeologically, many remains have been excavated at the site of the former Palestinian village, now located inside Canada Park, which support historical and traditional claims. Five structures were found and dated, including a Christian basilica from the 3rd century, another basilica from the 6th century and a 12th century Crusader church. Emmaus Nicopolis is a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.

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