Monastery of the Cross

Holy Land Unearthed

In the heart of Jerusalem, amidst the bustling streets and ancient landmarks, stands a sanctuary of tranquility and devotion—the Monastery of the Cross. This hidden gem, steeped in history and spirituality, offers a glimpse into the profound connections between faith and the passage of time.

A Living Testament:

The Monastery of the Cross, also known as the Abbey of the Holy Cross, is an architectural marvel that bears witness to centuries of devotion. Located in the Valley of the Cross, it was built over the very spot where, according to tradition, a tree was used to fashion the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

An Oasis of Serenity:

The bustling city seems to fade into the background as you enter the monastery’s gates. The peaceful gardens, shaded courtyards, and serene chapels create an atmosphere of serenity, inviting visitors to pause, reflect, and connect with their spirituality.

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A Window to the Past:

The Monastery of the Cross is more than a place of worship; it’s a living testament to the intertwined history of Jerusalem and Christianity. Its architecture reflects the passage of time, with elements dating back to the Crusader era and beyond. Each stone bears witness to the devotion of generations of pilgrims and monks.

Monasticisim in the Holy Land
Monasticism in the Holy Land
Franciscan Monks In The Church Of Holy Sepulchre During Their Daily Precession.

Historical Significance:

It is thought that the location was initially sanctified during the fourth century, following the directives of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Subsequently, after converting his realm to Christianity in AD 327, Constantine bestowed the site upon King Mirian III of Kartli. Research conducted by archaeologists has confirmed that the inaugural basilica was constructed towards the conclusion of the fourth century.

Another Angle of the Monastery.
Credit: Moshe Stern, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Scholarly sources attribute the establishment of the church to Bakur, a prince from Iberia and the grandfather of the renowned Peter of Iberia. Bakur held the title of Dux Palestine during that period. Artifacts from the fourth century remain scarce, with the most significant discovery being a mosaic fragment.

The Crusader Era

A portion of the contemporary compound encompasses the remnants of a monastery dating back to the Crusader era, although extensive restoration and reconstruction have transformed the majority of the complex. Within the Crusader segment is a church incorporating a hollow chamber. Through a window set into the floor, one can gaze at the very location where, according to tradition, the tree used to craft the cross once stood.

The Interior of the Monastery.
Credit: Yosarian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spiritual Center:

Today, the Monastery of the Cross continues to be a spiritual center for those seeking solace and connection. Its intricate frescoes, ancient icons, and sacred relics create an ambiance of reverence. The church’s centerpiece—a crucifix believed to be from the 12th century—is a potent reminder of the monastery’s significance.

A Relic of the True Cross of Jesus. Kept in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Credit: adriatikus en:commons:talk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Sanctuary for Pilgrims:

The monastery’s enduring allure draws pilgrims and visitors from around the world. Moreover, its peaceful atmosphere provides a space for prayer, reflection, and meditation. So whether you’re a seeker of historical insights or a traveler on a spiritual journey, the Monastery of the Cross offers a sanctuary of contemplation.

A Hidden Gem:

So, while Jerusalem is renowned for its historical and religious sites, the Monastery of the Cross remains a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Its off-the-beaten-path location adds to its allure, allowing visitors to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in an oasis of quietude.

A Sacred Connection:

So visiting the Monastery of the Cross is more than a tour—it’s a sacred connection to the history and spirituality that have shaped Jerusalem. It’s a reminder that amidst the vibrant city life, there are pockets of tranquility where the past and the present converge, inviting us to pause, reflect, and find solace.

Furthermore, the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem stands as a living testament to the enduring power of faith and the sacred threads that bind humanity across time and cultures. Moreover, its hidden courtyards, centuries-old walls, and whispered prayers create an experience that resonates deep within the soul, reminding us that in the heart of a bustling city, there’s a place where the spiritual journey finds its refuge.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

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