Monastery of the Cross

Jerusalem, Israel

The Monastery of the Cross was built in the eleventh century, during the reign of King Bagrat IV by the Georgian Giorgi-Prokhore of Shavsheti. It is believed that the site was originally consecrated in the fourth century under the instruction of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who later gave the site to king Mirian III of Kartli after the conversion of his kingdom to Christianity in 327 AD.

Legend has it that the monastery was erected on the burial spot of Adam's head—though two other locations in Jerusalem also claim this honor—from which grew the tree that gave its wood to the cross on which Christ was crucified.

Due to heavy debt the monastery was sold by the Georgians to the Greeks in 1685. It is currently occupied by monks of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The remains of the crusader-period monastery forms a small part of the current complex, most of which has undergone restoration and rebuilding. The crusader section houses a church, including a grotto where a window into the ground below allows viewing of the spot where the tree from which the cross was (reputedly) fashioned grew. Remains from the 4th century are sparse, the most important of which is a fragment of a mosaic. The main complex houses living quarters as well as a museum and gift shop. The monastery library houses many Georgian manuscripts.

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Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Israel

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Giorgi Dzangavadze (16 months ago)
I advise you to visit a very atmospheric place and of course important from a historical point of view
Giorgi Dzangavadze (16 months ago)
I advise you to visit a very atmospheric place and of course important from a historical point of view
Karivo 32 (19 months ago)
An untouched pearl. A holy place for Georgians.
Karivo 32 (19 months ago)
An untouched pearl. A holy place for Georgians.
Jonathan Böhlen (21 months ago)
Very impressive, especially the different kinds of people who visit here.
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