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Monastery of the Cross

The Monastery of the Cross, located in the Valley of the Cross in central Jerusalem, enshrines an ancient tradition that the tree from which the cross of Jesus was made grew here.

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Monastery of the Cross

The Monastery of the Cross, located in the Valley of the Cross in central Jerusalem, enshrines an ancient tradition that the tree from which the cross of Jesus was made grew here.

The monastery, near the Israel Museum and the Knesset, welcomes visitors daily to explore it and relax at its shady courtyard café. The tree is said to have been planted by Lot, who after realizing his sins, came to Abraham who gave him branches from pine, fir and cypress trees.

Lot planted them, and they grew miraculously into one tree, in the spirit of Isaiah 60:13. The church, dating from the Byzantine period, is adorned with frescoes and an intricate mosaic floor.

Behind the altar, paintings depict the story of the tree. In the eleventh century, the monastery was restored by the Georgians, whose national poet, Shota Rustaveli, is said to have resided here when he wrote his epic work “the Knight in the Panther’s Skin.” The monastery also contains a small museum of ethnic costumes and church art. 

 

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