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St Stephen and
King David on Mount Sion

The jewish tradition had, from the days of Herod, pointed out to this hill as being the site of the fortress occupied by David, that is, the fortress of Sion. The Christians, therefore, establishing themselves on the area, considered themselves as established on Mt. Sion. One memory remained indelibly attached to Sion, that of the Protomartyr St. Stephen. In 415 his remains were transferred to Sion until the Empress Eudoxia had finished in 460 the basilica to the north of Jerusalem, purposely built to receive them.

The cenotaph on Sion commemorating King David

And even after the transfer the former resting place was mentioned by pilgrims as the tomb, and some even pointed it out as the Tomb of David, thus giving rise to the unhappy legend which in the 14th and 15th centuries was one of the reasons for which the Christians were expulsed from the sanctuary.

The tradition linking Sion to the resting place of King David goes back to biblical times, especially 1Kng 2,10 which indicates the "City of David" as the burial site of the king. Even St. Peter in his first speach after Pentecoste (Acts 2,29) near the Cenacle proclaims that David's tomb "is still amongst us". It is for this reason that his tomb has been localised on the Christian Sion and the Church of Jerusalem even celebrated his memory.

Today David's memory is still venerated by the Jews

According to pilgrims there were in the basilica of Sion: the column of the flagellation, the horn for anointing the Kings and David, the crown of thorns, the lance, the stones used to stone St. Stephen, the small column in which stood the cross on which St. Peter was cruciiied in Rome, the chalice used by the Apostles, etc.

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Created / Updated Thursday, March 24, 2005 at 11:47:42 by J. Abela, E. Alliata, E. Bermejo
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