advertisement

Sixty meters (197 ft.) inside the Lion's Gate, on your right, is a wooden doorway leading to a hidden garden enclave where you'll find this beautiful 12th-century Crusader church, erected in honor of the birthplace of Anne (Hannah), the mother of Mary. It is built next to the Bethesda Pool, the site where Jesus is believed to have healed a paralytic. As the church is just a few hundred feet east of the Sanctuaries of the Flagellation and the Condemnation, at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, you might want to visit it before following the Stations of the Cross. Saint Anne's acoustics, designed for Gregorian chant, are so perfect that the church is virtually a musical instrument to be played by the human voice. Pilgrim groups come to sing in the church throughout the day, and you, too, are welcome to prepare a song of any religion -- only religious songs are permitted. The church's acoustics are most amazing when used by a soprano- or a tenor-range solo voice. Tip: If you want to try the acoustics (and if you're not a soprano or tenor), "Amazing Grace," sung with pauses between the lines to allow for the echo, will sound truly powerful in this 900-year-old church; so will "Silent Night."