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The Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem


According to ancient tradition, the Monastery of the Cross, in the Valley of the Cross near the Knesset in Jerusalem, enshrines the place where the tree from which the cross of Jesus was made grew. I rode past it almost daily when I was a student in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at that time on Givat Ram.

Built in the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat IV by Giorgi-Prokhore of Shavsheti of Georgia. It is believed that the site was originally consecrated in the 4th century under the instruction of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Constantine later gave the site to King Mirian III of Kartli after the conversion of his kingdom to Christianity in 327 A.D. The monastery library houses many Georgian manuscripts as well as frescos. As in other Orthodox Christian churches, the visitor is surrounded by colorful icons and religious objects. It is a feast for the eye created to impress the believer.

Monastery of the Cross
Monastery of the Cross – Photo: Igor Svobodin

The Basilica of the Monastery of the Cross

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