Abbey of the Dormition

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Abbey of the Dormition is an abbey and the name of a Benedictine community in Jerusalem on Mount Zion just outside the walls of the Old City near the Zion Gate. Between 1998 and 2006 the community was known as the Abbey of Hagia Maria Sion, in reference to the Basilica of Hagia Sion that stood on this spot during the Byzantine period, but it resumed the original name during the 2006 celebrations of the monastery's centenary. Hagia Maria Sion is now the name of the foundation supporting the abbey's buildings, community and academic work.

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Home > Middle East > Israel/Palestine > Jerusalem > Mount Zion > Abbey of the Dormition

circa 30 CE

According to local tradition, it was on this spot, near the site of the Last Supper, that the Blessed Virgin Mary died, or at least ended her worldly existence. Both in Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as in the language of scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" – or "falling asleep" – and this gave the original monastery its name. The church itself is called Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition). In the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Christ's mother was taken, body and soul, to heaven.

circa 30 CE

During his visit to Jerusalem in 1898 for the dedication of the Protestant Church of the Redeemer, Kaiser Wilhelm II bought this piece of land on Mount Zion for 120,000 German Goldmark from Sultan Abdul Hamid II and presented it to the "German Association of the Holy Land" ("Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande"). The foundation stone was laid on 7 October 1900. Construction was completed in only ten years; the basilica was dedicated on 10 April 1910 by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Abbey was built in an ecclesiastical, neo-Romanesque style that had become the state style of the new Imperial Germany.

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