Holy Land Monasteries

Martyrius Monastery in Wikipedia

The Monastery of Martyrius, now located in the center of the Israeli settlement and city of Ma'ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, was one of the most important centres of monastic life in the Judean Desert during the Byzantine period. [1][2] History - When Ma'ale Adumim was built in 1982-1985, the remains of the Monastery of Martyrius (Khirbet Murassas)[3] were discovered on a hill overlooking the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. Martyrius was born in Cappadocia (present-day Turkey). After spending some time at the Laura of Euthymius in 457 CE, he lived as a hermit in a nearby cave. Later, he served as a priest at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and became Patriarch of Jerusalem (478-486 CE). It is believed that he built the monastery bearing his name at this time.[4] The xenodocheion (pilgrim hostelry) was a source of considerable income to the sabaite monks of the coenobium.[5] Archeological findings - The square-shaped compound of the monastery covers an area of 2.5 acres (10,000 m2). It is surrounded by walls preserved to a height of two meters. The gate was located in the eastern wall. A round rolling-stone, 2.5 meters in diameter, was found inside the gate, probably for additional protection. Numerous rock-cut cisterns and canals were found for collecting and chanelling rainwater into cisterns.[4] The monastery was built around a large courtyard and included a church, several chapels, a refectory, a kitchen, a storeroom, a bathhouse, residential quarters and an animal pen. Outside the wall was a pilgrims hostel.[4] The main church was paved with colorful mosaics in geometric patterns interspersed with pictures of animals. A Greek inscription mentions the abbots Genesius and Iohannes.[4] On the northern side of the complex is a cave in which several skeletons were found. A Greek inscription cites the names of three priests buried there. It is believed this is the cave where Martyrius lived before joining the church hierarchy in Jerusalem.[4] The refectory is surrounded by stone benches and divided by two rows of columns which supported a second story. The floor, discovered intact, is covered with mosaics in geometrical designs. The kitchen was also paved with mosaics and contained marble tables. Hundreds of ceramic vessels, cooking pots and wine cups were found there. The hostel provided guests with a chapel, sleeping quarters and a stable.[4] The monastery was damaged during the Persian invasion in 614 CE and was abandoned after the Arab conquest in the mid- 7th century.[4] The site was excavated by Yitzhak Magen of the Israel Antiquities Authority.[4]

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St. George’s Monastery in Wikipedia

St. George Orthodox Monastery (or Monastery of St. George of Koziba) is located in Wadi Qelt, in the eastern West Bank, in the Palestinian territories. The sixth-century cliff-hanging complex, with its ancient chapel and gardens, is still inhabited by a few Greek Orthodox monks. It is reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt, which many imagine to be Psalm 23's Valley of the Shadow, and where shepherds still watch over their flocks, just as Ezekiel 34 and John 10:1-16 describe. The valley parallels the old Roman road to Jericho, the backdrop for the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). History -- St. George's Monastery began in the fourth century with a few monks who sought the desert experiences of the prophets, and settled around a cave where they believed Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:5-6). This Greek Orthodox monastery was built in the late 5th century A.D. by John of Thebes. He became a hermit and moved to Palestine from Egypt in 480 CE. The monastery was named St. George after the most famous monk who lived at the site – Gorgias of Coziba. Destroyed in 614 CE by the Persians, the monastery was more or less abandoned after the Persians swept through the valley and massacred the fourteen monks who dwelt there. The Crusaders made some attempts at restoration in 1179. However, it fell into disuse after their expulsion. In 1878, a Greek monk, Kalinikos, settled here and restored the monastery, finishing it in 1901. The traditions attached to the monastery include a visit by Elijah en route to the Sinai Peninsula, and St. Joachim, whose wife Anne was infertile, weeping here when an angel announced to him the news of Mary's conception. The bones and skulls of the martyred monks killed by the Persians in 614 CE can still be seen today in the monastery chapel. Today -- The monastery is located 20 km/12.5 mi from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. There is a sign posted to the monastery, which goes off on the left from the rather higher north side which there is the first view of the gorge of the Wadi Qelt. From the parking lot there is a path only suitable for all-terrain vehicles which runs northeast (about 1.25 hours on foot) to a hill with a cross, from which there is a view of the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. George and far to the left, a rivulet flowing down the hillside from a spring, from which water is channeled to the monastery. The stony track continues (another half-hour's walk), to the entrance to the monastery, which clings precariously to the sheer north face of the gorge.

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