The Monastery of the Cross is a solitary Byzantine monastery located outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Its name is based on the tradition that it stands where the tree grew that was used to make Christ's cross.
There was a Christian church on this site in the 5th century, but it was destroyed by the Persians in 614 AD (you can see part of the original mosaic floor next to the main altar in the present church).
The Monastery of the Cross that stands today was built in the 11th century by Orthodox monks from Mount Athos and financed with help from the King of Georgia. Its high, fortress-like walls reflect its precarious position outside the city walls.
By the 14th century, the monastery had become the center of the Georgian community in Jerusalem. By 1685, however, the monastery had been taken over by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
The simple dome is one of the church's most beautiful features. Also worth seeing are the frescoes, which were repainted in the 17th century based on 13th century originals and show an usual combination of Christian, pagan, and worldly images. The monastery's refectory and kitchen provide a glimpse into monastic life. A small museum displays the monastery's treasures.
The monastery remains active today, but visitors are permitted to wander freely around the monastery complex.
Quick Facts on Monastery of the Cross
|Names:||Monastery of the Cross|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||31.772068° N, 35.208070° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Monastery of the Cross|
- Eyewitness Travel Guide to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1st ed
- Monastery of the Cross - leffe3's Jerusalem Page, Virtual Tourist
- Photos of Monastery of the Cross - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Monastery of the Cross, Jerusalem
Below is a location map and aerial view of Monastery of the Cross. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.