Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem
18 September, 2018
Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem
In ancient times religious centers were utilized for the cultural and educational purposes of the country. There are a number of churches and monasteries built in medieval, earlier or later ages outside Georgia by Georgians.

Georgian scholars and monks used to copy and translate manuscripts and provide religious services at monasteries. Among the many Georgian churches abroad, the Jvari Monastery (The Monastery of the Cross) in Jerusalem is one of the most distinguished and significant ones for Georgians and Orthodox Christians.

The Monastery of the Cross is located in one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Jerusalem Malha. The history of the monastery goes back to the time of King Mirian III of Iberia (4th century). After Georgia converted to Christianity, the King visited Constantine the Great, purchased and built a shrine.

Later in the 5th century, Vakhtang I of Iberia expanded and decorated the religious center. The king left 600 Georgians to guard the monastery. The monastery prospered in the 11th century with the help of the Tao-Klarjetian monk Giorgi Prokhore, Bagrat IV of Georgia, his mother Mary and a Georgian scholar Euthymius the Athonite. The monastery was turned into a major educational and religious centre for Georgians and was also a reliable shelter for pilgrims.
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The inner part of the Jvari Monastery in Jerusalem

At the end of the 12th century, Muslim governors imposed tributes on the monastery and for a period of time, it served as a mosque. Owing to David VIII of Georgia’s diplomatic negotiations with an Egyptian Sultan, Georgians regained their rights over the monastery.
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The fresco of Shota Rustaveli

Ultimately, it was sold to the Greeks in the 17th century due to heavy debts. At present, it is occupied by monks of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The church also preserves the only portrait (fresco) of the medieval Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli as well as various Georgian manuscripts.

Photo courtesy: www.saunje.ge

Related stories:

Georgian Jvari Monastery among 15 Amazing UNESCO sites that must be seen

Georgia’s medieval Gelati Monastery being rehabilitated

Unknown medieval monastery ruins discovered in Georgia

A Georgian monastery that used to be the country’s chief missionary center


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