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Monastery of the Temptation

Christian Sites in Israel

The Monastery of the Temptation (Deir al-Quruntal) is a Greek Orthodox monastery located in Jericho. It was built on the slopes of the Mount of Temptation; situated along a cliff overlooking the city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley. During the Hellenistic period, a fortress built by the Seleucids called “Doq” stood at the summit of the mountain. It was captured by the Hasmoneans and it was here that Simon Maccabaeus was murdered by his son-in-law Ptolemy.



In fact Byzantine monks lived there as early as the 4th century. The earliest monastery was constructed by the Byzantines in the 6th century CE above the cave traditionally said to be that where Jesus spent forty days and forty nights fasting and meditating during the temptation of Satan; about three kilometers northwest of Jericho. The monastery receives its name from the mountain which the early Christians referred to as the “Mount of the Temptation”. The Mount of Temptation was identified by Augusta Helena of Constantinople as one of the “holy sites” in her pilgrimage in 326 CE.

Then when the Crusaders conquered the area in 1099, they built two churches on the site: one in a cave halfway up the cliff and a second on the summit. They referred to the site as Mons Quarantana (compare with quarante in modern French and quaranta in modern Italian, both meaning forty, the number of days in the Gospel account of Jesus’s fast).


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