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Armenian Quarter and Christian Quarter. The Muristan - December 1, 2003

The Armenian quarter and the Muristan in a spectacular view from the bell-tower of the Redeemer Church. Click on photos to enlarge.

A variety of ethnic-religious components other than the small but lively Armenian community, make the social fabric of the Armenian quarter. Our visit begins in front of the Christian Information Centre, established by the Custody of the Holy Land (Franciscans).

The Armenian quarter seen from the Citadel. In the foreground is the Christ Church, the first protestant establishment in Jerusalem founded in 1849.

Yaqubi Mosque was originally a Crusader Church built in memory of the Persian martyr James (Jacob) Intercisus.

St. Maroun Monastery. The Maronites are a Christian Oriental Catholic denomination from Lebanon. They have Syriac as their liturgical language.

In St. Mark Monastery, Syrian Orthodox monks keep the House of Mary, "the mother of John, whose other name was Mark". There St. Peter went after his miraculous liberation from prison (Acts 12,5-17).According to them, this is the same place as the Cenacle.

In this Syriac inscription, the church is said to be "founded by the Holy Apostles under the title of the Mother of God".

To the left: The main gate of St. James Monastery, the See of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

To the right: A typical, stone-carved, Armenian cross. Many others like this one decorate the church's atrium (below).

Armenians boast to have been the first nation mass-converted to Christianity in the year 303 A.D. Evangelization work was carried out by St. Gregory the Light-bearer. St. James Church is opened for visits during prayer times.

A monk strikes a wooden plank (simandro) to signal the call to prayer.

On the left side of the Church is the traditional place where St. James was martyred when King Agrippas ordered him to be beheaded (Acts 12:1-2). St. James' head is said to be buried under the altar (left).

Below: The "Cathedra" of James, the "Lord's Brother" (Gal 1:18) and first bishop of Jerusalem, is preserved under a precious baldachino.
Right: Stones from three sacred mountains (Thabor, Garizim and Sinai) are kept in the Etchmiadzin Chapel.

Armenian monks and attendees leave the church at the end of the liturgical service.

The original façade of the church was on its southern side. The imposing arches of the crusader portico, seen here from the central courtyard of the Armenian monastery, were closed in the eighteenth century to form the Etchmiadzin chapel.

An old water-pool (Birket hammam el-Batraq) lies - forsaken - inside the Christian Quarter; it was fed once, by way of an aqueduct, from the nearby Mamilla pool. According to one tradition, the pool was the work of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:20).

Left: The Greek Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist goes back to the Crusader and Byzantine Periods.
Below: Here was born the Military Hospitaller Order, known also as the Knights of St. John of Acre, of Rhodes, and finally of Malta.

German Lutherans, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, rebuilt the Crusader Church of St. Mary Latina as the Redeemer's Church.

These painted and glazed tiles from the seventeenth century, displayed on the north wall of the Etchmiadzin Chapel (St. James Church), expose the artistic talent and genuine religiosity of the Armenian people. Click to enlarge, then scroll to the right.

 SBF main, Index

Biblical Escursions


1. City Walls (North)

2. City Walls (South)

3. City of David

4. Ophel

5. Jewish Quarter

6. Mount Zion

7. Armenian Quarter

8. Holy Sepulchre

9. Via Dolorosa

10. Probatica

11. North Jerusalem

12. Gethsemane

13. Mount of Olives

14. Ascension, Bethphage, Bethany

15. West Jerusalem

16. Ain Karem

17. Bethlehem

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Created/updated: Sunday, December 16, 2001 by J. Abela ofm / E. Alliata ofm
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