The village of Naim on the northern slope of Jebel Dahi owes its fame to the Gospel: it is remembered only because it is where Jesus resuscitated the widow’s son.
“The city of Naim, where the Lord resuscitated the widow’s son, appears until today at the twelfth (actually the fifth) mile of Mount Tabor, near Endor”. With these words, Eusebius of Caesarea, attests that the sacred memory remained in the 4th century. An anonymous account (which can be attributed to the 5th-6th centuries) informs us of the later events, collected by the Benedictine monk Peter the Deacon (12th century): “In the house of the widow whose son was resuscitated, there is now a church, and the grave where they wanted to lay him still exists today.” A “beautiful” church still existed in Naim in the 14th century (Fra Nicolò da Pobbibonsi) but from the 16th century onwards, only ruins are mentioned. The simple and modest present-day church was built in 1881 on the remains of the old one. It has two fine paintings from the end of the 19th century.
The old cemetery must have stretched west of the village, on the slopes of the mountain, where various tombs dug out of the rock can be seen. A Roman stone sarcophagus stands against the façade of the church.
The Franciscans of the Holy Land, not without many difficulties brilliantly described by M. Sodar de Vaulx (translation by Father E. Crivalli, Milan 1891, pp. 473-475). were able to buy the ruins and build a church in Naim.
A report written at that time and published in the Osservatore Romano, and then in La Terra Santa of Florence (1st May 1882, pp. 94-95), also tells us of the men who successfully built the church: Filippo da Montaltoveglio, guardian of Nazareth, Fr. Giuseppe Baldi, procurator of the Holy Land in Galilee and Pacifico Saleh, dragoman of the Holy Land who took on the majority of the disputes with those who wanted to hinder this work. The narrator also recalls the “head of the village, a very honest Muslim with an excellent heart” who “allowed water to be taken from the only spring nearby and stones to be taken from its bed; all the water and stones necessary for a factory; moreover, they are very scarce there.”
Resurrection of the widow’s son
Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep." He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, "A great prophet has arisen in our midst," and "God has visited his people." This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.
(Luke 7, 11-17)
Young man, I tell you, arise (Luke 7, 11-17); See, your son is alive (1 Kings 17, 17-24); all things work for good for those who love God (Romans 8, 26b-29).
Prayers and oration
May God help and protect the people he has chosen and call them to the beatitude of his kingdom. Remembering his benefices, we say: We trust in you, Lord.
We pray to you, Lord, for our Pope N. and for our Patriarch N.,
guide them and protect them with your Spirit.
Allow our brothers who are ill to feel part of the passion of your Son,
and share the grace and consolation.
Look on families without a roof with goodness,
allow them to have a home and a safe place in society.
Give and keep the fruits of the earth and of work,
so that no man may be deprived of his daily bread.
Let us pray: Great and merciful God. who wanted Jesus, your Son, moved by pity, to restore life to the widow’s son. remove every obstacle from our path towards you, so that, in the serenity of body and spirit, we can devote ourselves freely to your service. For Christ our Lord. Amen.
In charge of the sanctuary
Convent of the Holy Land
Basilica of the Holy Annunciation
16100 Nazareth Israel
Every day: 5.30 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.