Ethiopian Monastery

sights / Religious

Ethiopian Monastery information

Location
Jerusalem , Israel
Opening hours
daylight hours
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Sequestered on the rooftop of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, this monastery houses a few monks from the Church of Ethiopia who live among the ruins of a medieval cloister erected by the Crusaders. The cupola in the middle of the roof section admits light to St Helena’s crypt below. A door in the southeast corner leads through a chapel and downstairs to the courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre itself.

Around the cloister walls are paintings of Ethiopian saints, the Holy Family and the Queen of Sheba during her visit to Jerusalem. Ethiopian legend tells that it was during this visit that the Queen of Sheba, together with King Solomon, produced heirs to both royal houses, one of whom brought the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia.

The monastery is actually within the Coptic Patriarchate. When the Church of Ethiopia became a self-governing organisation in the early 20th century (previously, it was part of the Coptic Church), its monks were kicked out of the Coptic monastery and moved into huts here on the rooftop.

The monastery is reached via a staircase from Souq Khan al-Zeit St (look for a juice stand and the ramshackle entrance to famous pastry shop Zalatimo ). As you walk up the stairs you will see the patriarchate chapel straight in front of you and an entrance to a cistern on the right. The monastery is to the left.