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Abbey of the Dormition

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Abbey of the Dormition is a Catholic abbey belonging to the Benedictine Order in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion just outside the walls of the Old City near the Zion Gate. The Abbey is said to mark the spot where Mary, mother of Jesus, died.

Between 1998 and 2006 the community was known as the Abbey of Hagia Maria Sion,[1] 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.

We left the walls of the old city through Shaar Zion.

The name "Mount Zion" appears 19 times in the Bible, and all the sources indicate that it is Mount Moriah (it is the Temple Mount).

The name Zion appears for the first time in the Bible in the story of the conquest of Jerusalem by David: ".

“And David was captured by the citadel of Zion - it is the city of David" (Samuel 2:57).

Mount Zion lies north of Kiryat Melech Rav" (Psalm 33) - north of Kiryat Melech, north of the City of David - where the Temple Mount is located.

All the prophets mean the Temple Mount. During the Second Temple period Mount Zion was part of the "Western Hill".

Mount Zion was mentioned for the first time in an external text by the traveler from Bordeaux. The traveler from Bordeaux, who passed through Mount Zion in 333, wrote "And inside, within the walls of Zion, the site of David's palace can be seen. Of the seven synagogues that were there, only one remains, and the others were plowed up and sown, as the prophet Isaiah said.


With the end of the Bar Kochba Revolt, in 135 AD, the Romans forbade the Jews to enter Jerusalem. The ban on Jewish settlement in the city was also in force for most of the Byzantine period. Since in 333, the year of the visit of the traveler from Bordeaux, Jews were not allowed to enter Jerusalem, some speculate that the name "Zion" migrated here, and identify the remains of a synagogue in the "Tomb of David" building on Mount Zion. Perhaps here the traveler from Bordeaux saw the signs of the prayer house, and a tradition that connects the mountain with King David.

Perhaps the traveler from Bordeaux meant a Jewish-Christian synagogue, perhaps on Mount Zion, despite the ban, there was a community of Jews, and perhaps there was a regular building where they gathered for prayer.

Pilgrim writings from the 4th century describe a church in Jerusalem dedicated to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples. Igria went on a 3-year pilgrimage alone, in the years 382-385, wrote experiences from the road, described the liturgy, what is done in the ceremonies, and the prayers.

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