Church of Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem

The underground Church of Tomb of the Virgin Mary (Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary) the where the Virgin Mary was buried is located in the immediate vicinity of the Gethsemane Grotto and overby the Garden of Gethsemane.

According to the Christian tradition, the Virgin Mary died in the age of 72 in the year of 57. It is believed that this happened at the site on Zion Mount, where Wilhelm II had the Church of the Assumption Day built at the beginning of 20 century. She was buried at the family cemetery in the Garden of Gethsemane where her parents, Joachim and Anne, as well as her husband, Joseph the Betrothed were buried.

The first church on the site of the Sepulcher of the Virgin Mary was built by Queen Helen in 326 but it was ruined by the Persians in 614. After that the church was restored and ruined several times, however, the underground tomb always remained intact. Muslims venerate the Virgin Mary as the mother of the Prophet Isa (Jesus).

The subterranean church took its today form in 12 century when Jerusalem was under the rule of crusaders. Melisende, the daughter of Baldwin II, the King of Jerusalem, wanted to restore the church and extend its subterranean chapel. After crusaders left Jerusalem Saladine destroyed most part of the subterranean church, so now there remained of it only a small portico with columns over the entrance. Having passed the portico, you can see a stair of 48 steps leading to the underground cave.

The subterranean church (34 m long and 6 m wide) has the shape of a cross. On the right of the stair you can see the marble tomb where the Lord`s Mother was buried. You can enter it, bow and say a pray to the Virgin Mary. Beyond the tomb you can see the miracle-making icon of the God`s Mother of Jerusalem.

In the middle of the stair you can see two side chapels. In the right chapel the parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim and Anne were buried, as well as Melisende, the Queen of Jerusalemа, who restored the church. The left chapel is devoted to Joseph the Husband of Mary.

By the decision of the Sixth Ecumenical, which was held in 681, the Tomb of Saint Mary was opened. There were found burial sheets and a belt. Today the belt of Virgin Mary is kept at the Vatopedi Monastery on the Holy Mt Athos in Greece. The bodies of Virgin Mary wasn’t founded there, as, according the tradition, she ascended to her son Jesus Christ in the heaven.