Unique Crusader-era monastery seal found in Jerusalem


The lead seal, which dates to some 800 years ago, bears the likeness of St. Sabas, one of the most important people active in Jerusalem during the Byzantine period, some 1,500 years ago . . .

St. Sabas was one of the most influential leaders of the Christian monastic movement that developed in the Judean Desert during the Byzantine period. He established several monasteries, but his crowning achievement was the construction of the Monastery of St. Sabas, referred to as the “Great Laura” in the Byzantine period.

Situated on a cliff overlooking the Kidron Valley outside the Old City of Jerusalem, it is the only monastery in the Judean Desert continuously inhabited since its foundation. At the time the seal was in use, the monastery had hundreds of monks. Today, about 10 Greek monks are in residence.



St. Sabas:


Saint John of Damascus:

Born and raised in Damascus, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem . . .

The Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, often referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption due to his writings on the Assumption of Mary.


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Interesting article. Thank you.


Here is a little more information about the Mar Saba monastery, and about the location where the seal was found.

“The Mar Saba monastery apparently played an important role in the affairs of the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Crusader period, maintaining a close relationship with the ruling royal family,” Robert Kool, a researcher with the Israel Antiquities Authority who examined the seal, said in a statement. “The monastery had numerous properties, and this farm may have been part of the monastery’s assets during the Crusader period.”

A document in the archives of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem refers to a farming settlement known as Thora that was sold to the Mar Saba monastery in 1163–1164. The location of that farm was lost to history, but the Mar Saba seal could link the recently excavated farm to Thora, explained Storchan and Dolinka in a statement.

Mar Saba is one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world. It still receives visitors, although it can only be reached with an off-road vehicle. And, being Greek Orthodox, women are barred from going much past the entrance. :o


That is really cool. I love history like this!

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