1. On what basis can Emmaus-Nicopolis be considered the place of the apparition of the risen Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke?
Emmaus, lying by the valley of Ayalon, was the only place with this name that existed in the area of Jerusalem in the 1st century AD, as it appears from the ancient Jewish literature, including the works of Flavius Josephus (See: Early Roman period).
This is also confirmed by the fact that Emmaus-Nicopolis is the only place that has retained for centuries the name of Emmaus (in Arabic: ‘Amwas, ‘Imwas).
High-quality ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke 24:13, list the distance of “about 160 stadia” between Jerusalem and Emmaus, which corresponds to the location of Emmaus-Nicopolis (See: FAQs about Emmaus, Question 2).
By speaking about the apparition of the risen Jesus in Emmaus, St. Luke builds a parallel between the Victory of Jesus over the death and the victories gained with God’s help by Joshua (Joshua 10: 8-13) and Judas the Maccabee (1 Maccabees 3: 38-4, 25) over the enemies of Israel in the area of Emmaus-Nicopolis (See: Old Testament period and Hasmonean period).
The earliest Christian tradition of the Church Fathers unanimously venerates Emmaus-Nicopolis as the place of the apparition of the risen Jesus, see: Late Roman and Byzantine period. This tradition has survived for centuries, especially among the Orthodox Christians.
A confirmation to this tradition was given at the end of the 19th century by St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified, a nun from the Carmelite Monastery of Bethlehem, to whom Jesus Himself mystically revealed the place of his apparition at Emmaus, thus inspiring the Monastery to acquire the Holy Place of Emmaus from the Muslims, see: Ottoman period. Thus, Christian pilgrimages to this place resumed.