Day 5 (5) Dormition Abbey - Mount Zion

Mt. Zion
Mount Zion, also known as Mount Sion, is a hill just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Jewish scriptures apply the term "Mount Zion" to the Temple Mount and the City of David. For Jews, the term "Zion" became a synecdoche referring to the entire city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.
Historically, the name Mount Zion referred to the Temple Mount. Later the name came to refer to a different hill of Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the Old City. The misidentification dates from the Middle Ages, when pilgrims mistook this hill with its relatively large, flat summit, which was the highest point in ancient Jerusalem, for the original site of the Jewish Temple. The Hinnom Valley borders this hill on its western and southern sides.
Important sites on Mount Zion are Dormition Abbey, King David's Tomb and the Room of the Last Supper. The Chamber of the Holocaust (Martef HaShoah), the precursor of Yad Vashem is also located on Mount Zion. Another place of interest is the Catholic cemetery where Oskar Schindler, a Righteous Gentile who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews in the Holocaust, is buried

Dormition Abbey

Crowning the summit of the modern Mt. Zion is Dormitian Abbey. This marvelous church is a landmark of the city of Jerusalem, and is the site where the Virgin Mary is said to have fell into 'eternal sleep'. Its Latin name is "Dormition Sanctae Mariae" (Sleep of St. Mary). The Catholic theologists, Roman Catholic Church and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, all believe Mount Zion to be the place where Virgin Mary, slept for the last time before she and her soul were both taken to Heaven.The current church and Monastery, owned by the German Benedictine Order, was consecrated in 1906. It was noticeably damaged during the battles for the city in 1948 and 1967
We entered the church through the side entrance. Inside the basilica, we could see an alter with a mosaic picture of Mary and child Jesus in the center of the semicircular apse above the altar.
Around the walls are 6 side chapels which are decorated by mosaics, and are one of the highlights of the site.
From the church are two spiral staircases that lead down to the crypt. The crypt is a round pillared room ("Rotunda"), which is located in a level under the church. In the center of the crypt, surrounded by six pillars, is a sculpture of Virgin Mary in her eternal sleep, made of ivory and cherrywood. This statue indeed is a magnificent sight. We saw many visitors light up candles before the sculpture.
On the ceiling of the cape above Mary are Jesus (in the center) surrounded by famous Biblical women figures: Eve, Esther, Ruth, Yael, Judith and Mary sister of Moses; they are here to honor Mary.
Around the walls of the round crypt are several chapels, donated and designed by different countries.

Also See
1. http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/Dormition.html
2. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/jerusalem-dormition-abbey.htm
3. http://www.jerusalem.com/article_259/The-Dormition-Abbey
4. http://www.asiarooms.com/travel-guide/israel/jerusalem/sightseeing-in-jerusalem/dormition-abbey-in-jerusalem.html
5. http://www.bibleplaces.com/mtzion.htm (Mount Zion)

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