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Abu Gosh Benedictine Monastery

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Background on Abu Gosh Benedictine Monastery in the Holy Land


The Abu-Gosh Benedictine Monastery is one of the most beautiful crusader buildings to have survived in Israel. Built some 1,000 years ago, on the spot of the water spring, on the main road to Jerusalem, the remains of the crusader resurrection church were restored by the French government and handed over to the Benedictine Order in the 19th century. Remnants of 12th century frescoes can be seen on the monastery walls, and a little spring flows out of the monastery crypt.

Today it is a Benedictian Monastery, actually divided in two separate sections, one for nuns and one for monks. The highlight of a visit to the Abu-Gosh Monastery is meeting the Asst. Chief Monk Olivier who arrived in Abu-Gosh 30 years ago after studying in a monastery in Normandy. Like other Benedictian Monks, he has vowed his services to the Abu-Gosh Monastery for life. He was drawn to Israel by the will to be as close as possible to the holy sites and by a deep passion for Israel and the plight of Jews, developed after viewing the movie Exodus at the age of 12.

The Asst. Chief Monk Olivier is charming, funny, fluent in a French accented Hebrew and very up-to-date in military slang. He brags he is the only Christian who has learned Hebrew, the language of the Jews, from Moslems. Something possible only in Israel - the land of paradoxes. The monastery is run in a self sufficient manner where every monk and nun have a function and responsibility besides prayer. Their motto; 'Ora et Labore', prey and work. Olivier's responsibilities, besides management, lye with tending to the fruit trees, olive trees and vineyard. Among the other monks are a mechanic, a medic, an accountant, several cooks and others that create pottery that is sold in a local shop in Abu-Gosh.



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