Monday, June 27, 2011

A semi-secret passageway

Outside, on the Old City's Christian Quarter Road, are the souvenir T-shirts and all the hustle and bustle of the Arab bazaar and of passing tourist groups.
But if you pay attention to this door within a gate, and if you have the courage to step through, you will be entering a secret other world.
The quiet courtyard feels ancient, quiet, and mysterious.
It is the Greek Orthodox monastery and Church of Prodromos [the Forerunner], also called the Church of St. John the Baptist.
Its 5th century crypt is the oldest surviving church building in Jerusalem.
The upper story was destroyed by the Persians in 614.
It was rebuilt by St. John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria, and later, in the 11th century, by Italian merchants from Amalfi.
Only the the small bell tower and the present facade of the upper story are modern.

In 1099 many Crusader knights who were wounded during the siege of Jerusalem were cared for in this church.
After their recovery some of the grateful knights dedicated themselves to helping the sick and protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land.
Calling themselves the Knights of the Hospital of St. John, they later developed into the military order of the Hospitallers.
More information at Sacred Destinations.
This post is for inSPIREd Sunday and That's MyWorld.
I'm glad you came through the doorway!


cieldequimper said...

What a wonderful haven from tee-shirts!

Eki said...

A marvelous place with a marvelous history.
Yes, I'd love to pass the passageway and enter into the courtyard. I love ancient courtyards. Do you have a picture of it, Dina?

Nicole said...

Dina !!
Thanks for taking me to the Old City again.
Wish i was there with you.

Dina said...

Ciel, ja, genau.

Eki, I will try to get you a picture of the little courtyard. It has a tree or two. I always feel like an intruder in the monks' yard. I am always the only one there. Still haven't seen the inside of the church because I've never found the priest with the door key.

Nicole, herzliche Willkommen! Welcome to the blog.

Rob and Mandy said...

I envy you this secret place! I might have known it, but I really can't remember it. The door is fabulous, from times where they used to build things to last!

Reader Wil said...

The gate and doorway look mysterious but also inviting.I like the background information you always give us.Have a great new week!

Hels said...

This is such old architecture and still looks in super condition. But why did the passageway have to be semi-secret? Were they secretly moving crusaders in or out?

mirae said...

hi beautiful Dina, I love this ancient architecture and the idea of the crusaders helping the sick and protecting the holy land.

On friday it was st john the baptist day to celebrate francophones in canada.I can't get too much into this kind of thing I prefer our multicultural festivals, however a barrel of maple syrup sap will be arriving via my resident managers brother in quebec and I have to say I am looking forward to that.
wow 15mm is only twenty cents. haha.
bye for now
shalom and love and light

Dina said...

Hels, sorry, that was just my semi-humor in the term "semi-secret passage." I just meant that a visitor to the Old City would have no way of knowing that there is a church back there. As far as I remember, there is no sign at the gate or even on the church.

Cloudia said...

and our modern hospice movement was inspired by the hospitalers!

great post

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral


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VP said...

I think I saw this, but the passageway was much less promising then...

RuneE said...

It goes to prove that one should always look behind the busy tourist traps for the real interesting tit-bits.

Spiderdama said...

So old and so beautiful. Thanks for the tour.. I have to see this next time.
Happy week to you Dina:-)

Winchester Daily Photos said...

Looks great, I love exploring cities with little passageways like this, you never know what you'll stumble across

Kay said...

It's nice to know the Crusader Knights did good things too.

Pietro said...

Really "ancient, quiet, and mysterious."

RedPat said...

What a history that place has!

".E." Lizard Breath Speaks, It's Beth said...

wow, i love the dome ... what gorgeous architecture. ( :

Bill Nicholls said...

Oh wow, love to see the inside of the church. Been to Amalfi, that has an impressive church as well

Czereśnia A said...

Beautifull photos...