Motives for Pilgrimage
Many questions are a raised when flipping throughout the history of the religion of Christianity. Why did Christians fight so long against Pagan rulers? Why did their religion mean so much to them, they would risk their life for it? Maybe by narrowing the questions down possible answers can be developed. Possibility one starting point can be, what are the motives for early Christian pilgrimage? Pilgrimages are an essential part of Human culture and are defined, as is a mission to come closer to the Supreme and to experience a communion with God. Usually they are made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion. These missions hold extremely great merit to many Christians as they provided a gateway to their holy land.
During much of the Roman Empire, practice of the Religion of Christianity was outlawed. Up until the time of Constantine it could lead to your death, and it happened very frequently. However the faith still stayed stalwart and people started to become curious of the areas listed in the bible. Eusibeus gave information of Melito, a man from Sardis, who happens to be the earliest known pilgrim to date. He made his travel around 150. There is not a lot of information that is given about his journey, but the info that was salvaged was mentioned. The purpose of his mission was to establish an accurate analysis to the Old Testament. He was more interested in the Jewish traditions on his trip. Hunt gave a view of Melito’s journey by stating; “ The past which he went in search of was the narrative of the Bible, and this he expected to see mapped out in contemporary Palestine. Only a handful of non-biblical reminiscences appear to have caught the pilgrims attention in his travels.”; So the motive that drove Melito was the interests of the places mentioned in the bible.
While Melito was tagged as the earliest known of the Pilgrims, Helena carries the distinction of being the most popular Pilgrim. Helena was the mother of Constantine, who was the man responsible for the Religion of Christianity being accepted in the Roman Empire. The story of Helena holds lots of merit, but there is no one that has linked Helena to any of this. On her pilgrimage she traveled to Palestine and Jerusalem. An article by David Hendin had a list of the many things that Helena has said to have done. They include:
--Proclaimed the actual path Jesus took on his way to the cross, the Via Dolorosa, and declared the precise spots of all of the fourteen Stations of the Cross;
--Found at least several pieces of the true cross itself;
--Identified the spot near the Sea of Galilee where the miracle of fish and loaves occurred;
--Confirmed the place where Jesus stood when he gave his Sermon on the Mount;
--Marked the place of the Annunciation, where Mary learned that she would give birth to Jesus;
--And she also identified places where Joseph’s carpentry shop stood, where Jesus was...