Cradle of Jesus

According to the tradition, Cradle of Jesus (مهد عيسى) also known as the Chamber of Virgin Mary or Oratory of Mary, is the location where Jesus was laid down by Miriam before or after being presented in the Temple at the age of 40 days. The cradle of Jesus is a stone alcove in the floor in the northeastern corner of the court at the entrance to Solomon’s Stables.

This site is a small rectangular room (4.40 x 7.40 meters) which is used as a place of Salah (Muslim worship) and it is named "Dome of the Jesus' Cradel" (قبة مهد عيسى). An additional alcove (left) has been opened and is used as a window. The room's vaults originate from a relatively later period and are made of small stones. Above the "cradle" is a dome supported by four marble pillars, most probably installed during the Fatimid era.

circa 10 CE

Above the "cradle" is a dome supported by four marble pillars made by the Muslims most probably during the era of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificient. Jesus' cradle was mentioned by many Muslim authors prior to the Crusader period. Abad Rabia stated in the year 913 CE, "In the Temple mount are situated the alcoves named after Miriam, daughter of Amram, the mother of Jesus, where the angels were accustomed to hide her winter fruit in summer, and summer fruit during the winter."

circa 10 CE

The marble alcove originating from the early Byzantine period when it was possibly a setting for a statue of some sort. The recess in the floor underneath the dome is the purported Cradle of Jesus, this alcove is arched in shape and refined at it's borders in the shape of a conch shell, (1 x 1.60 meters). Above the "cradle" is a dome supported by four marble pillars.

Stairs leading to the south-eastern chamber (grill in upper left) commonly known as the Maqam e Maryam Oratory of the Virgin Mary inside the el-Marwani Mosque. This is a small room containing a domed cavity in the floor, according to the tradition this is the site of cradle of Jesus, where Mary placed him at the age of 40 days. This episode is mentioned in the Gospel according to Luke (Luke 2:23–24). The small chamber has three windows made of stained glass, overlooking Kidron Vallery.

Access to this area by a winding staircase containing 32 stairs. Another tradition mentions that below this area is a crypt where the wooden cradle of the highly worshiped Jesus is reserved. This door is in the western wall, now blocked, allows entry from the Solomon's stables. According to the decorations on this door it is related to the Byzantine period.

The name "Jesus' Cradle" indicates that this location was considered holy by the Christians and it is possible that here stood a church. According to Johann from Wiersberg's statement, "close to The Templar's building, to the east of the city walls was Simon the Zaddik's (Simon the wise) place of dwelling. It is told that here he customarily hosted Miriam and Jesus in great honour, and gave them to eat. This is what he did the night after Jesus was 40 days old, and then presented him to the Temple.


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