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Archaeologists Uncover 'Oldest Church' in Holy Land
VOA News ^

Posted on 11/06/2005 9:04:05 AM PST by Sub-Driver

Archaeologists Uncover 'Oldest Church' in Holy Land By Robert Berger Jerusalem 06 November 2005

Berger report - Download 255k audio clip Listen to Berger report audio clip

The archaeological world is buzzing with news of a major find in Israel. The discovery is being hailed by Christian leaders, who see it as an affirmation of the faith.

An Israeli archaeologist points at a section of a Christian mosaic at an excavation site in the compound of the Megiddo prison in northern Israel, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005 An Israeli archaeologist points at a section of a Christian mosaic at an excavation site in the compound of the Megiddo prison in northern Israel, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005 Israeli archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a third- or fourth-century church in northern Israel, which they believe could be the oldest ever found in the Holy Land. The church contains a well-preserved mosaic, with references to Jesus Christ and images of fish - an ancient Christian symbol.

"This find is once in a lifetime," Chief archaeologist Yotam Tefer told VOA. "It is very, very exciting."

The church was found during renovations at a prison in Megiddo - what the New Testament calls Armageddon - the site of the final apocalyptic war marking the end of the world.

"This is the place, the site of the last battle, Armageddon," said Mr. Tefer. "Of course, this is the place. So, this is why it's so important to the Christian world."

Word of the find has electrified the Christian world.

"Surely it is a great discovery, which will be a confirmation for all the Christians all over the world," said Pietro Sambi, the Vatican's ambassador to Israel, told Israeli television.

(Excerpt) Read more at voanews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; archeology; christianity; church; godsgravesglyphs; history; israel; megiddo

1 posted on 11/06/2005 9:04:05 AM PST by Sub-Driver
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To: Sub-Driver
"Surely it is a great discovery, which will be a confirmation for all the Christians all over the world," said Pietro Sambi...

If only Christians would be attentive!

2 posted on 11/06/2005 9:13:20 AM PST by FerdieMurphy (For English press one. Only in America!)
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To: Sub-Driver

Very interesting. Thanks.


3 posted on 11/06/2005 9:15:27 AM PST by mlc9852
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To: FerdieMurphy

Well, the Christians on FR will know. I don't imagine it will make the MSM.


4 posted on 11/06/2005 9:17:14 AM PST by mlc9852
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To: Sub-Driver
Very interesting story.
The rest of the article says that this Church may turn out to be a very nice tourist attraction for Christians and for the Isaeli economy.
Since it's on the site of a working PRISON, the Israels may decide to move the prison. As they said in the article, better a church than a prison.

The find IS extraordinary since Christian churches were OUTLAWED by Rome for the first three long centuries. To find one in the HOLY LAND is truly amazing. The Romans kept the heel of their Roman boot, so to speak, very firmly on the backs of Christians in those days. They were VERY nervous about their ever-growing influence.

Duh, Son of God founded it. First Pope: Peter. Paul, former Jewish persecutor of Christians, as the Apostle for the Gentiles.
They had good cause to worry.

5 posted on 11/06/2005 9:19:24 AM PST by starfish923 ( It's never right to do wrong. Socrates)
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To: mlc9852

I went over to google news search to find more and lo and behold look who is talking about it... http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8E2FF0BF-D4BC-4BB4-B779-FAF8A7977FA8.htm


6 posted on 11/06/2005 9:19:55 AM PST by ElisabethInCincy
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To: mlc9852
Well, the Christians on FR will know. I don't imagine it will make the MSM.

I read it on FOXNEWS this morning.
They are now also MSM.
Smirk.

7 posted on 11/06/2005 9:20:23 AM PST by starfish923 ( It's never right to do wrong. Socrates)
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To: mlc9852

Unfortunately not even a trace will appear in MSM. But it is indeed wondrous news.


8 posted on 11/06/2005 9:26:54 AM PST by FerdieMurphy (For English press one. Only in America!)
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To: starfish923

Fox is borderline MSM - lol


9 posted on 11/06/2005 9:42:01 AM PST by mlc9852
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To: FerdieMurphy

Actually, the MSM has this covered pretty well, already. 151 stories so far, including all the TV networks. It's always best to check Google News before writing.

From Google News:


Voice of America Oldest Known Holy Land Church Uncovered
WJACtv.com, PA - 2 hours ago
JERUSALEM -- Israeli archaeologists said they may have discovered the oldest Christian church in the Holy Land. It's believed the ...
Archaeologists Uncover 'Oldest Church' in Holy Land Voice of America
Holy Land dig unearths what may be oldest Christian church Irish Independent
Oldest Known Holy Land Church Uncovered NBC 4.com
all 151 related »


10 posted on 11/06/2005 9:46:39 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: MineralMan
godless atheist

With all that press coverage, will you now convert?

11 posted on 11/06/2005 9:49:51 AM PST by FerdieMurphy (For English press one. Only in America!)
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To: FerdieMurphy

"With all that press coverage, will you now convert?"

Why would I do that? There was a church in Israel. 300 years after Jesus lived. I don't see how that would convince me any more than the dozens of churches near my home.


12 posted on 11/06/2005 9:51:31 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Sub-Driver

wow very interesting.


13 posted on 11/06/2005 9:57:40 AM PST by Tempest (I'm a Christian. Before I am a conservative.)
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To: MineralMan
It's always best to check Google News before writing.

And a little indepth analysis would determine that of the US news organs who are reporting this, they are on the website equivalent of page A30.

I'm willing to bet that it hasn't made the broadcast news.

14 posted on 11/06/2005 10:02:12 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (What? Me worry?)
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To: mlc9852

"Well, the Christians on FR will know. I don't imagine it will make the MSM."

As I pointed out to Ferdie, a quick trip to Google News will demonstrate that you are incorrect. The MSM covers religious things, and this is a fairly big deal, as discoveries go. An actual church location, only 300-400 years after Jesus.

It demonstrates that there were followers of Christianity at that time. I can't see that it demonstrates anything else. Think of what you know about things in the 17th century. That's how far these folks were from the time Jesus walked the soil of Israel.


15 posted on 11/06/2005 10:08:36 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Sub-Driver
Israeli archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a third- or fourth-century church in northern Israel, which they believe could be the oldest ever found in the Holy Land.

I went to churches this old in Georgia last May. It was very much a wonderful experience.

16 posted on 11/06/2005 10:55:25 AM PST by MarMema
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To: Sub-Driver
Dear All, There's a early mosaic in the arab town of Bethlehem at a early 4th century church ruin that we visited when we took a tour there. That mosaic combined a fish hanging nose down and forming the body of a six pointed jewish star below. That star was a powerful symbol of the early faith.

That visit was on a glorious Sunday worship service where we met hundreds of arab Christians. When I looked out upon the large number of young arab girls age 13-15, I tried to imagine Mary at this age being told by an angel that she would bear the Messiah Jesus in her womb.

That is a pretty awesome image. I wonder if this new image is similar? "The church contains a well-preserved mosaic, with references to Jesus Christ and images of fish - an ancient Christian symbol."

17 posted on 11/06/2005 11:45:37 AM PST by STD (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: Sub-Driver

18 posted on 11/06/2005 3:55:15 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: FerdieMurphy

19 posted on 11/06/2005 3:55:58 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: mlc9852

20 posted on 11/06/2005 3:56:37 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: starfish923

21 posted on 11/06/2005 3:57:23 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: ElisabethInCincy

22 posted on 11/06/2005 3:58:07 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Tempest

23 posted on 11/06/2005 3:59:13 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: MineralMan

24 posted on 11/06/2005 4:00:12 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: STD

25 posted on 11/06/2005 4:00:42 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Sub-Driver

Cool.
I think there are Christians symbols on Peter's house in Caperneum. Which is why they believe the house was his.


26 posted on 11/06/2005 4:06:56 PM PST by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: Sub-Driver; FerdieMurphy; mlc9852; starfish923; ElisabethInCincy; Tempest; VeniVidiVici; MarMema; ..
This is pretty cool. The inscription is so clear I can read it pretty easily. (I teach Greek.)

Here's what it says, first using the Greek characters themselves, then a transliteration using English characters, then two translations into English, changing the word order into normal English for the second. (BTW, the reason for the parentheses is that I'm filling in the missing letters on those abbreviations of sacred names.):

ΠΡΟΣΗΝΙΚΕΝ
ΑΚΕΠΤΟΥΣ
Η ΦΙΛΟΘΕΟΣ
ΤΗΝ ΤΡΑΠΕ-
ΖΑΝ Θ(Ε)Ω Ι(ΗΣΟ)Υ Χ(ΡΙΣΤ)Ω
ΜΝΗΜΟΣΥΝΟΝ

PROSĒNIKEN
AKEPTOUS
HĒ PHILOTHEOS
TĒN TRAPE-
ZAN TH(E)Ō I(ĒSO)U CH(RIST)Ō
MNĒMOSYNON

OFFERED
AKEPTOUS
THE GOD-LOVER
THE TAB-
LE TO THE G(O)D J(ESU)S CH(RIS)T
MEMORIAL

Akeptous the God-lover offered the table to the God Jesus Christ as a memorial

27 posted on 11/06/2005 5:14:28 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Sub-Driver; FerdieMurphy; mlc9852; starfish923; ElisabethInCincy; Tempest; VeniVidiVici; MarMema; ..

Archaeologists Unveil Ancient Church Site
By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 16 minutes ago

Israeli prisoner Ramil Razilo was removing rubble from the planned site of a new prison ward when his shovel uncovered the edge of an elaborate mosaic, unveiling what Israeli archaeologists said Sunday may be the Holy Land's oldest church.

The discovery of the church in the northern Israeli town of Megiddo, near the biblical Armageddon, was hailed by experts as an important discovery that could reveal details about the development of the early church in the region. Archaeologists said the church dated from the third century, decades before Constantine legalized Christianity across the Byzantine Empire.

"What's clear today is that it's the oldest archaeological remains of a church in Israel, maybe even in the entire region. Whether in the entire world, it's still too early to say," said Yotam Tepper, the excavation's head archaeologist.

Israeli officials were giddy about the discovery, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calling the church "an amazing story."

Vatican officials also hailed the find.

"A discovery of this kind will make Israel more interesting to all Christians, for the church all over the world," said Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican envoy to Jerusalem. "If it's true that the church and the beautiful mosaics are from the third century, it would be one of the most ancient churches in the Middle East."

Razilo, who is serving a two-year sentence for traffic violations, was one of about 50 prisoners brought into the high-security Megiddo Prison to help excavate the area before the construction of new wards for 1,200 Palestinian prisoners.

Razilo was shocked to uncover the edge of the mosaic. The inmates worked for months to uncover all the parts of the mosaic — the floor of the church, he said.

"We continued to look and slowly we found this whole beautiful thing," said Razilo, who used a sponge and a bucket of water to clean dirt off the uncovered mosaics Sunday.

Two mosaics inside the church — one covered with fish, an ancient Christian symbol that predates the cross — tell the story of a Roman officer and a woman named Aketous who donated money to build the church in the memory "of the god, Jesus Christ."

Pottery remnants from the third century, the style of Greek writing used in the inscriptions, ancient geometric patterns in the mosaics and the depiction of fish rather than the cross indicate that the church was no longer used by the fourth century, Tepper said.

The church's location, not far from the spot where the New Testament says the final battle between good and evil will take place, also made sense because a bishop was active in the area at the time, said Tepper, who works with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The inscription, which specifies that Aketous donated a table to the church, indicates the house of worship predated the Byzantine era, when Christians began using altars in place of tables in their rituals, Tepper said. Remnants of a table were uncovered between the two mosaics.

The building — most of which was destroyed — also was not built in the Basilica style that was standard under the Byzantines, he added.

Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar and professor at the Holy Land University, said the second and third centuries were transitional periods where people sought to define their religious beliefs and modes of worship. Iconography and inscriptions found in Nazareth and Caperneum — places where Jesus lived — show that people went there to worship, although most did so secretly.

"This was a time of persecution and in this way it is quite surprising that there would be such a blatant expression of Christ in a mosaic, but it may be the very reason why the church was destroyed," Pfann said.

The dig will continue as archaeologists try to uncover the rest of the building and its surroundings, including what they believe could be a baptismal site, Tepper said.

Joe Zias, an anthropologist and former curator with the antiquities authority, questioned the dating of the find, saying there is no evidence of churches before the fourth century. The building may have been in use earlier, but most likely not for Christian religious purposes, he said.

"They're going to be hard, hard-pressed to prove it ... because the evidence argues otherwise," Zias said


28 posted on 11/06/2005 5:19:08 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Could it have been a Communion Table? Or a table where they re-enacted the Lord's supper?


29 posted on 11/06/2005 5:22:29 PM PST by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: lexington minuteman 1775

I think it is undoubtedly a reference to the Lord's Table (see 1 Cor. 10:21), the place where the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood was consecrated and served.


30 posted on 11/06/2005 5:31:12 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: STD

The level of preservation on these mosaics is incredible! This new find is outstanding, one of the best!


31 posted on 11/06/2005 5:36:28 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Sub-Driver

bump


32 posted on 11/06/2005 5:50:59 PM PST by Jason_b
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To: STD

33 posted on 11/06/2005 5:54:53 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: lexington minuteman 1775

34 posted on 11/06/2005 6:02:48 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Equisite!
Ah,that Roman/Greek tile.
The Mediterranean/near east sites are full of it. I saw Roman ruins in Syria and Cyprus with Roman baths and such. The tile looked as beautiful and fresh as if it were only 50 years old instead of 2000+ years old.

35 posted on 11/06/2005 6:14:29 PM PST by starfish923 ( It's never right to do wrong. Socrates)
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To: starfish923

36 posted on 11/06/2005 6:28:27 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Sub-Driver

37 posted on 11/06/2005 6:29:34 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: Jason_b

38 posted on 11/06/2005 6:30:40 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: mlc9852

Actually, NBC Nightly News covered it at some length tonight.


39 posted on 11/06/2005 6:33:51 PM PST by RichInOC ("ARMAGEDDON!!!")
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To: Sub-Driver
I'm trying to post all the different photos I can find that give us good looks at the detail. Here's another:


40 posted on 11/06/2005 6:53:23 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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this is (I believe) the first one:

Ancient church uncovered in Megiddo Prison
Jerusalem Post | 11/5/5 | TIDHAR OFEK
Posted on 11/05/2005 3:38:44 PM PST by SmithL
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1516475/posts


41 posted on 11/06/2005 7:12:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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Just adding this to the GGG catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
Gods, Graves, Glyphs PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

42 posted on 11/06/2005 7:12:53 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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To: starfish923

I had the privilege of visiting Ephesus this summer. This type of thing is common there. What a thrill to have seen Ephesus.


43 posted on 11/06/2005 7:23:20 PM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
I had the privilege of visiting Ephesus this summer. This type of thing is common there. What a thrill to have seen Ephesus.

Yes, LUCKY you.
Maybe me too someday.

44 posted on 11/06/2005 8:08:13 PM PST by starfish923 ( It's never right to do wrong. Socrates)
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To: Sub-Driver

45 posted on 11/06/2005 9:47:36 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies)
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To: starfish923
Put it on your list. It's probably more affordable than you would think. We took a Princess cruise.

The highlights of our trip were Rome, Pompeii, Ephesus, Athens and Corinth and Mykonos. Our cruise was 12 days plus a few days in Rome and Venice. It was a bit much.

46 posted on 11/07/2005 5:13:51 AM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: RichInOC

"Actually, NBC Nightly News covered it at some length tonight."




Yes, and a good story with a photo was on Page 3 of the front section of my newspaper this morning. So much for the MSM not covering the story.


47 posted on 11/07/2005 6:05:37 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Conservativegreatgrandma
Put it on your list. It's probably more affordable than you would think. We took a Princess cruise. The highlights of our trip were Rome, Pompeii, Ephesus, Athens and Corinth and Mykonos. Our cruise was 12 days plus a few days in Rome and Venice. It was a bit much.

When the ex and I lived in the middle east we TWICE had the trip to Turkey bought and paid for. Each time the trip was cancelled because of trouble in that country.
We're divorced now, but we still want to go. We'll take the land tour. We still have friends in Syros and might make a trip there too.
It's always been one of our plans. But, if we wait too long it might have to BE a cruise. We're gettin' up there in years. LoL.

48 posted on 11/07/2005 6:25:32 AM PST by starfish923 ( It's never right to do wrong. Socrates)
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To: Charles Henrickson
THE G(O)D J(ESU)S CH(RIS)........T

If you are correct this is really important. Trinity deniers claim that believing that Jesus is God is a new invention. This proves them very, very wrong.

49 posted on 11/11/2005 3:50:30 AM PST by Bellflower (A new day is Coming!)
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To: Bellflower
THE G(O)D J(ESU)S CH(RIS)........T =

THE G(O)D J(ESU)S CH(RIS)T........T

50 posted on 11/11/2005 3:52:34 AM PST by Bellflower (A new day is Coming!)
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