About sight: Mary Magdalene Church

The Church of Mary Magdalene on the western slope of the Mount of Olives together with the Church of All Nations, which is located a bit lower, presents one of the most remarkable views of Jerusalem, especially if you look at it from the Temple Mount.

Somehow it became a custom that many churches and monasteries of Jerusalem were built by the Christians of the other countries. Russian architect David Grimm set himself a goal to build a «landmark of Russia», a beautiful church in the most recognizable Russian style of «onion-shaped cupolas», and he mostly succeeded in it, both from the standpoint of architecture and thanks to the location of the church on the slope of the Mount of Olives.

In 1888 the Russian emperor Alexander III had the Church of Mary Magdalene built on the Saint Land to commemorate his mother Mary Alexandrovna. At the consecration of the church the members of the imperial family were present including the Great Duchess Elizabeth Fedorovna. Amazed by the beauty of the temple the duchess said that she would like to be buried there. In 1921 she was shot by the Bolsheviks in the Ural city of Alapayevsk, but then the bodies of Elizabeth Fedorovna and her lay-sister Barbara were taken to Jerusalem (through China) where she was buried at the Church of Mary Magdalene.

In 20 century archeologists discovered on the territory of the convent a stair dating back to the time of Jesus Christ and a grotto. Traditionally, it is said that at this grotto the apostles Peter, Jacob and John slept when Jesus prayed on the bedrock at the Garden of Gethsemane in the night before his arrest.

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