|Latrun Monastery: On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” (Joshua 10:12) |
Latrun sits high on a hilltop in the Ayalon Valley. It sits 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla. The Latrun Monastery is a Trappist Monastery overlooking the valley and the city Jesus lived in. It is traditionally thought to be the location where God made the sun stand still in Joshua 10:12. It is also thought to be the site where Joshua won the battle against the Amorites.
The Latrun Monastery boasts peaceful walkways, which were built in the 20th century AD by French Trappist monks. There are charming vineyards which provide grape juice and wine. The church at the Latrun Monastery combines both Byzantine and Gothic styles of architecture, making this a notable stop on a Christian pilgrimage.
The Trappists are monks belonging to the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance. They are a contemplative order in the Roman Catholic Church, desiring to devote much time to meditating on Jesus. They follow the rules put forth by Saint Benedict in the 6th century AD.
They take vows of stability, fidelity to the monastic lifestyle and obedience. Silence is also an important part of their lives, as it makes time for contemplation of the sacrifice of Jesus. They are not completely silent, but choose to only speak when necessary avoiding idle chatter. They eat in silence, but they speak when selling wine at the Latrun Monastery, as that is seen as worthwhile conversation during work. All Trappist monasteries product goods, thus the Latrun Monastery sells wines, juices and other monk-made products.
Judah Maccabee, before the birth of Jesus, built a fort in Latrun in preparation to fight against the encroaching Greeks, who were camped out at the nearby Emmaus. He planned a surprise attack, which led to a victory followed by Jewish independence.
In 1890, the French monks built the Latrun Monastery. They planted the vineyard that currently produces a variety of delicious wines. Unfortunately, the Ottomans destroyed the monastery in World War I. The monks then returned in 1927. They rebuilt the Latrun Monastery. The huge clock tower of the church was finished in 1954.
During the Six Day War in 1967, Latrun was captured, and the main road to Jerusalem was reopened. The fort built at Latrun was badly damaged but remained standing.