Tabitha’s Tomb – Jaffa
Just east of Old Jaffa, in the Arab neighborhood of Abu Kabir, a distinctive salmon-colored steeple points the way to the Church of Tabitha’s Tomb, also known as the Russian Orthodox Church of Tabitha. Even though it’s easy to spot from a distance, visitors should note that the actual entrance is though a green metal gate off a small side street in the middle of an old Jewish graveyard.
The church was built at the site of Tabitha’s grave. Known as Tzvia in Hebrew, Tabitha was a student, beloved for her kindness and the many good deeds she did for the community of Jaffa. She became ill and passed away while still young. St. Peter prayed and brought her back to life in a miracle described in the Book of Acts. Tabitha went on to live until a ripe old age. She was buried in a cave near the Russian Orthodox Church and was later canonized as a Christian saint.
Surrounding the Russian Orthodox Church of Tabitha’s Tomb, pilgrims touring the area will find sunny, open gardens, shaded by mulberry trees. The gardens make an ideal place to read the story of Tabitha from the Book of Acts and to pray in an atmosphere of quiet reverence.
Built and dedicated in the late 19th century, the church is rich with Christian murals and icons. It’s an active church with services on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tour participants who arrive in time for a service might experience an a capella women’s choir chanting the liturgy while remaining unseen.
The tomb itself is in a highly decorated cave. Christian pilgrims touring the Holy Land come to the tomb specifically to honor St. Tabitha.