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The Christian Shrines of Jerusalem

The "The Holy Prison"
The area of the Antonia Fortress

The Convent of the Soeurs de Sion and the Chapel of Ecce Homo rise near the site of the Antonia Fortress. The Church of the Sisters of Zion was built in the second half of the last century on a site that has yelded the remains of ancient ruins, such as the Roman arch, fortifications and a pavement which some had identified with that of the Antonia Fortress as well as the vestiges of Roman-age street paving, the so-called Lithostratos.

Inside the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, a flight of stairs leads down to the site of the Lithostratos which, in the Gospels, is described as being opposite the Praetorium. This is substantiated by the fact that in addition to the little channels that served to drain off rain-water and carry it to the cistern below (the Struthion pool which supplied water to the troops garrisoned in the Antonia Fortress), the floor is marked for some of the games the Roman soldiers used to play. One of these can be identified by the letter "B", which stands for the Greek word Basileus (King), or "the game of the King".

The underground rooms of the Greek Orthodox Church are said to have been the prison where Jesus was held, tried and whipped. An inscription on the door of a Greek-Orthodox building near the convent identifies it as the Prison of Christ. It is worth mentioning that in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre a chapel is known as the Holy Prison.



The Antonia Area

The so-called Pretorium doorway - (the Prison of Christ) (79KB) --- small image (26KB) --- large image (189KB)


The grotto believed to have been Christ's prison (38KB) --- small image (11KB) --- large image (130KB) --- detail (large) (239KB)


Another view of the grotto (107KB) --- small image (30KB) --- large image (240KB)


The Holy Prison in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (28KB) --- large image (89KB)


The Convent of the Sisters of Zion (82KB) ---small image (21KB) - large image (194KB)


Another door of the Convent of the Soeurs de Sion (81KB) --- small image (25KB) --- large image (198KB)


Lithostratos (78KB) --- small image (24KB) --- large image (241KB) --- detail (large) (239KB)


Lithostratos - another view (79KB) --- small image (35KB) --- large image (219KB) --- detail (large) (199KB)


Old Roman paving stones (56KB) --- small image (16KB) --- large image (153KB)


Basileus or The game of the King (59KB) --- small image (37KB) --- large image (201KB) --- detail (large) (252KB)


Another view of Basileus (106KB) --- small image (28KB)


Another view of "Basileus" (68KB) --- small image (19KB) --- large image (215KB)


Another view of old Roman paving stones (27KB) --- small image (8KB) --- large image (88KB)


The underground Struthion Pool, under the Convent of the Soeurs de Sion (48KB) --- small image (14KB) --- large image (157KB) - detail (large) (205KB)


© copyright 2001. Reflections and Prayers by John Abela ofm
Descriptive text by John Abela, ofm and Michael Olteanu
based on research by Albert Storm (SBF - Jerusalem)
Hi-Res pictures prepared by Michael Olteanu
Display pictures prepared by John Abela ofm



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Created / Updated Sunday, January 6, 2002 at 14:11:28 by John Abela ofm
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