Monday 30th June 2014
Today we our course at the Centre for Biblical Studies, Ecco Homo, finished. We had a shared reflection in several stages relating to aspects of our time together. These were the land, the Bible, the people, thanksgiving and sending forth. It was a good way to bring together the many rich and varied experiences of the past month. Our celebrations included a delicious festive meal!
I hasten to add that all the meals have been good. I was glad that we had walks to various sites to walk them off! I put on a pair of trousers the other day that I have not worn for three months, since before the Camino, and they fell down! I had to use a belt, four notches down from where it had been previously!
After lunch a couple of us went for a walk in the Old City. We called in at the Armenian Church of St James, but we were told it was closed for a month for cleaning and renovation. I was lucky that I had visited a couple of weeks ago (see post from 19th June).
Then we went to the Dormition Abbey. I had been there before also but there was a Mass about to start, so I had not been able to see all of the Church. Today I was able to remedy that.
There are a series of mosaics in the side chapels around the circular central nave.
There is a crypt downstairs. The central feature is a statue of the Virgin Mary in repose, laid out in death, before her bodily assumption into heaven. Pilgrims gather around to pray for her intercession.
There are more Marian mosaics decorating the walls of the crypt. Here is one of them:
There was also an unusual painting. In most Marian art, the Blessed Virgin Mary is presented as a mother holding the child Jesus in her arms. In this painting, the risen Christ is presented holding his mother in his arms! The dead body of Mary is seen lying in state at the bottom of the picture, while the risen Christ is holding the small dead body of his mother wrapped in funereal cloths.
For more detailed information and photos of the Dormition Abbey see:
Shalom, Peace, Salaam!!!