02 May, 2009

Mary's Tomb

Mary's Tomb, originally uploaded by ! . © Angela Lobefaro . !.

© Angela M. Lobefaro

Thanks to gadihext and to his very friendly family for the fantastic hospitality!

Mary's Tomb is a tomb located in the Kidron Valley, on the foothills of Mount of Olives, near the Church of All Nations and Gethsemane garden, originally just outside Jerusalem. It is attributed to Theotokos (Mary, the mother of Jesus) by Eastern Christians.

Preceded by a walled courtyard to the south, the cruciform church shielding the tomb has been excavated in an underground rock-cut cave[3] entered by a wide descending stair dating from the 12th century. On the left side of the staircase (towards the west) there is the chapel of Saint Joseph, Mary's husband, while on the right (towards the east) there is the chapel of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, holding also the tomb of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem.

On the eastern side of the church there is the chapel of Mary's tomb. Altars of the Greeks and Armenians also share the east apse. A niche south of the tomb is a mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca, installed when Muslims had joint rights to the church. On the western side there is a Coptic altar.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem is in possession of the shrine, sharing it with the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Syriacs, the Copts, and the Abyssinians have minor rights. Muslims have a special place for praying (the mihrab).


No comments: