The Dormition Abbey

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!

Main course for celebratory lunch at conclusion of course at Ecce Homo

Main course for celebratory lunch at conclusion of course at Ecce Homo


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.

The Abbey of the Dormition

The Abbey of the Dormition

Mosaic over the main altar in the Dormition Abbey

Mosaic over the main altar in the Dormition Abbey


There are a series of mosaics in the side chapels around the circular central nave.
Mosaic over side altar in the the nave of the Dormition Abbey

Mosaic over side altar in the the nave of the Dormition Abbey


Mosaic over altar in side chapel  of the nave of the Dormition Abbey

Mosaic over altar in side chapel of the nave of the Dormition Abbey


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.
Statue of the Virgin Mary laid out in repose in death

Statue of the Virgin Mary laid out in repose in death


There are more Marian mosaics decorating the walls of the crypt. Here is one of them:
Mosaic in the crypt of the Dormition Abbey.  It presents Mary among the Apostles on the occasion of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues of fire which came to rest on all those who had gathered there.

Mosaic in the crypt of the Dormition Abbey. It presents Mary among the Apostles on the occasion of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues of fire which came to rest on all those who had gathered there.


Mosaic in the crypt of the Dormition Abbey

Mosaic in the crypt of the Dormition Abbey


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.
Painting in the crypt of the Dormition Abbey showing Christ holding his mother in his arms

Painting in the crypt of the Dormition Abbey showing Christ holding his mother in his arms


For more detailed information and photos of the Dormition Abbey see:
http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/Dormition.html
http://www.seetheholyland.net/church-of-the-dormition/
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dormition_Abbey

Shalom, Peace, Salaam!!!

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