Today, on the calendar of the Armenian Orthodox, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated.
We came here, to visit the Church of the Tomb of Mary in Gethsemane a few days ago; and then,
judging by the entrance, the old Crusader church looked deserted.
But once inside, we were surprised by the smell of incense and the sound of chanting and singing, all over the place!
We waited as the Armenians began the liturgy near the side chapels and then followed them down the 47 stairs to the underground part of the church.
The Armenians continued prayers in front of the sepulcher of Mary.
On the other side of the tomb another liturgy was in progress, but I could not pass through to see who; probably the Syrian Orthodox or the Greek Orthodox, maybe Ethiopians.
The Copts were praying at their own altar, and I can show you those photos in the days to come.
My visiting American Protestant friends did not know what to make of all this, but I enjoyed it very much.
UPDATE: I have added information in the Comments in answer to readers' questions.
(A post for Our World Tuesday.).