Saint John Church Reviews
This is an exceptionally average Armenian church with no particular redeeming characteristics. I does have a good location, on a small street with lots of trees. However, it is just very average. I... more »
The first structure, a north-south oriented trefoil building, was built sometime in the 4th-6th century and served for unknown purposes. It was damaged at the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614 and then extensively modified. A source can be interpreted to mean that it was restored during the 7th century by John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria. Medieval periodEdit By the 11th century the ancient structure had sunk to at least 3 metres beneath the street level, with its doors and windows blocked, and served as a storage place for goods and water. During this century, an organisation of Amalfitan merchants settled in Jerusalem and acquired the south-west corner of the Hadrianic forum, where they established a pilgrim hospice, complete with a hospital and a church. The new church was erected above the ancient structure, which became its basement and dictated the tri-apsed layout of the entire church. This church was tended to by Benedictine monks. In 1099, Crusaderknights injured during the siege of Jerusalemwere treated at the hospital and after recovering started here what was to become the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, named after the church, also known as the Knights Hospitaller. After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, the basement was apparently filled with debris. Ottoman periodEdit At the end of the 15th century, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem acquired the church and most probably transformed the basement into a chapel, which, according to excavator Jean-Baptiste Humbert of the École Biblique, might well constitute the first time that the structure was used for a cultic purpose. During the 16th century, the church was used for a short period as a mosque, but was soon recovered by the Greek Orthodox, who in 1660 built a large pilgrim hospice next to it. In the 19th century, the crypt was cleared out, and an impressive reliquary was brought to light from the masonry of the altar.
Very few parts remained from the old church, it is renovated
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