Search
Close this search box.

The Field of Blood (Monastery of Onophorius)

Exploring Jerusalem

The field of blood (Akeldama) is the name of an area in Jerusalem just outside the Old City. According to Christian tradition, this lot was bought with the money received by Judas Iscariot for handing Jesus over to the Romans. The area has been used since ancient times as a public burial ground, mainly for Christian pilgrims who died during their visit to Jerusalem. Today, a monastery belonging to the Greek Church called Onuprius Monastery is located on the property.


Akeldama – Gate of the Monastery – Akeldama is the Aramaic name for a place in Jerusalem associated with Judas Iscariot, one of the followers of Jesus.
Credit: Avi Nahmias, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

The Field of Blood In Christian Tradition

In the Christian tradition, there are two versions regarding the plot purchase. According to the Acts of the Apostles, Judas Iscariot bought the field with the money he received for betraying Jesus and died on the spot. According to another version, Judas felt great remorse after the crucifixion, so he confessed to the Jewish Priests, threw the money at them, and went and hanged himself (Gospel according to Matthew)

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

(Matthew 27:3-8)

Akeldama (Field of Blood)
In This Photo: An Aerial View of the Monastery
Credit: Michaeli, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

Akeldama As A Cemetery

In early Christian traditions, burial in the field of blood was considered a great virtue. According to this, those buried in this plot are exempted from the judgment at the end of day. Also, the tradition says that the bodies in this plot decompose rapidly without leaving a bad smell.

Following these beliefs, in the Middle Ages, taking dirt from the plot and spreading it in cemeteries in Europe was customary. In 1218, a ship arrived in the Holy Land to take land from here for the cemeteries of Pisa in Italy.



Many graves are scattered, and human bones are found in the various caves. A public burial structure from the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem that was used for public burials during the Crusader days stands out. The central arches of the complex are still standing to this day. The corps of poor pilgrims who died during their pilgrimage to the holy city were thrown into.

Monastery of Onophorius

In 1892, the Greek Church built a monastery in the Field of Blood. It was named after Saint Onuphrius. According to the orthodox Christian tradition, Onuphrius was born as a woman. Then, due to the persecution of a stubborn suitor, she asked God to become a man.

Saint Onuphrius began his monastic career in Thebes. Later, he retired from the monastery and lived in total isolation in the Sinai Desert. Ultimately, he was one of the leaders of the Judean desert Monasteries in the fourth century.

Not only around the monastery but also inside, it can be seen in many burial caves. The monastery’s church was built inside a burial cave. At the entrance to the sanctuary and in the center of its courtyard, there are also complex, decorated, and preserved burial caves. The bones of monks killed according to tradition during the Persian invasion in 614 CE lie in the caves. A visit to the monastery can go well in my Jerusalem Old City Tour.

arik-about

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’.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Shiloh Excavations In The City Of David

RELATED POSTS

Neve Tzedek

Neve Tzedek is a little neighborhood in Tel Aviv you must visit when touring Israel! The little alleys and streets are super inviting to tour

The Cardo

The Cardo was the main street in Old Jerusalem during the Roman and Byzantine periods, passing from the Damascus Gate to the Dung Gate.

Gordon Beach

Nestled along the vibrant coastline of Tel Aviv, Gordon Beach stands as a captivating fusion of urban energy and seaside serenity.

King’s Castle (Chateau du Roi)

King’s Castle also known as Chateau du Roi, is a Crusader fortress of the Castrum type located in the village of Mi’ilya in the Upper ...

The Italian Hospital in Jerusalem

The Italian Hospital in Jerusalem is a monument to the return of the city from a marginal city to the center of international interest.

Religious Places to Visit in Jerusalem

Which Religious Places to Visit in Jerusalem? So here are all the religious key sites in the Holy City and much more! For more click ...

Best National Parks in Israel

Which are the best National Parks in Israel? So I've compiled a shortlist of my top 5 parks for those planning to visit the Holy Land ...

Palace of the Lady Tunshuq

The Palace of the Lady Tunshuq is a magnificent palace in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. The palace is showcasing Mamluk architecture.

Crocodile Farm Hamat Gader

The crocodile farm at Hamat Gader is a must-visit for animal lovers and adventure seekers alike. It is home to more than 200 crocodiles!

The Museum of Yarmukian Culture

The Museum of Yarmukian Culture stands as a gateway to the fascinating world of the Neolithic Yarmukian culture.

Need help?

Skip to content