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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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

charlie compton (18 months ago)
Wonderful place to visit, extensive history, Originally built in the 5th century at the direction of Queen St Helena, Mother of Emperor St Constantine.
Ihor Zeiger (2 years ago)
Amazing historical monastery to visit. A lot of history inside and around. It has a fresco which is considered the only life time portrait of a famous Georgian Poet Shota Rustaveli, who once lived in this monastery.
Isa Imran Abdul (2 years ago)
Due to physically fit woman though ?
George Skyriotis (2 years ago)
According to tradition, this monastery is built around the root of the tree that Lot watered, as penance for his sin. According to the old testament, the tree was made up of 3 types and given to him by Abraham. This tree was later cut down and used for Christ's cross.
Alex alex (2 years ago)
The oldest Georgian Monastery?❤️
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