The Monastery of the Cross

The Monastery Compound which held the Tree of Jesus Cross

 

The Monastery of the Cross is a Georgian Orthodox Monastery situated in th Holy Land. This monastery is situated near the Nahlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem, and located at the Valley of the Cross, below the Israel Museum and the Knesset.

 

History of the Georgian Greek Monastery

 

The Monastery was built in the 11th century by Georgian Giorgi-Prokhore of Shavsheti. during the rule of King Bagrat IV. The place where monastery is situated was granted by Constantine the Great,to king Mirian III of Kartli after the conversion of his kingdom to Christianity in 327 A.D. The place was originally consecrated in 4th century as per the instruction of Constantine the Great. It is believed that the monastery is constructed at the burial place of Adams head even though two other places claim to be the location. The tree from which the cross which Jesus Christ was crucified was taken from this place.
The Monastery was sold to Greece in 1885 due to heavy debt an is presently under the ownership of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The Monastery has a library which holds several Georgian manuscripts. Some of the survived manuscripts are preserved in Mount Sinai, Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Saint Petersburg, Vienna, Paris, London and Washington.

 

Tree for Jesus Cross

 

The monastery has a small part which are the remains of the Crusader period and this has undergone several restoration works. It includes a Church and a special window through which one can see the spot where the tree for the cross grew .
The Tree is believed to be planted by Lot who came back to Abraham after recognizing his sins. Abraham gave him the branches of pine, fir and cypress tress. Lot planted them and it grew into one single tree. There is a painting behind the Altar of the Church which depicts the story of this miraculous tree.

 

Georgian Cultural Center

 

Georgians consider it the monastery as their cultural center.The legendary national poet of Georgian, Shota Rustveli has resided in this monastery when he wrote his epic work ” the Knight in the Panther’s Skin”.
After transfer of the monastery to Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a Greek Theological Seminary was opened here in 1855 was active until 1908. It has mosaic dating back to 4th century. Other facilities include living quarters and gift shop. It also has a small museum of ethnic costumes and church art.

 

Destruction of Fresco

 

In the year 2004 some unknown persons defaced the fresco of the Legendary Georgian Poet Shota Rustaveli prior to the vists of the Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to Israel. Wikipedia reports that similar incidents have taken place during 1970’s and 80’s when some Georgian inscriptions where replaced by Greek ones. But later it was cleaned and the Georgian inscription were made visible again.
Attempts to Return Ownership
The Georgian Government has been working continuously to return back the ownership this Monastery back to the Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church. In February 2012 it was announced by President Mikhail Saakashvili that a special teams will be set up to return the Georgian Holy Cross Monastery. The Israeli government and Georgian Embassy in Israel is cooperating with each other to return the monastery back to the Georgians.

 

Georgian Orthodox Church

 

Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the ancient autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church.. It traces its origin to the Apostolic Work of St Andrew and St. Nino who is equal to the Apostles and enlighter of Georgia. It has 3,500,000 faithful worldwide and the headquarters is situated at Tbilisi, Georgia. Eighty three percentage of Georgians are members of the Orthodox Church. It enjoys special status in Georgia. Its Primate Catholicos- Patriarch Illya II is considered to me most influential and trust personalities in Georgia.

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George Alexander is an expert on Orthodox Christianity and writes frequently for Travelujah. He is the Secretary and Spokesperson for Orthodoxy cognate PAGE. For more information please visit
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