Thursday, August 5, 2010

Russian Churches on Mt. of Olives

A few weeks ago after my morning religion class we went to visit some lovely Russian Orthodox Churches on the Mount of Olives. Our first stop was the Church of Mary Magdalene just up the hill from the Basilica of Agony in Gethsemane. It is one of the mot beautiful and noticeable churches in all of Jerusalem.

A mosaic above the entry of Mary bringing burial ointments to the tomb.

The large mural to the left is Mary before the Roman Emperor in which she offers him an egg as a testimony that Jesus Christ rose from the grave. The mural on the right is Jesus appearing to Mary on the first Easter morn.

A nice painting of Jesus praying that he not have to drink the bitter cup.

Another painting from the iconostasis of Mary coming to the tomb.

This is the free standing Russian steeple of the Ascension on the southern crest of the Mount of Olives. Unfortunately it is not open to climbers. It was built in the late 1800s so that pilgrims unable to make the journey down to the Jordan River could at least see the river from this tower.
The Russian Church of the Ascension stands near the steeple.

The ascension of Jesus from the dome of the rotunda.

Blood on the tile floor of a Byzantine Church that once stood here. Nuns were massacred here by the invading Persians in 614.

During WWI, Russian priests and nuns left the holy land leaving the church in the care of local novices. Each night during Turkish control the nuns would barricade themselves inside of the church for protection. They would spend the night praying to this bejeweled icon of the virgin Mary which is believed to have protected the innocence of these faithful women.

Behind this church is the Chapel of the Head of St. John the Baptist.

Tradition has it that the head of John was buried in this depression which was then covered in mosaic during the Byzantine era.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Chad. Sorry I don't comment often, but loving it. What an AMAZING opportunity for you all - especially the kids. Cruised through the Galilee one - FABULOUS! Take care. Nadine