Based on the 1999 Calendar published by Massolini Group - Collebeato (BS) Italy by Mario and Claudia Massolini
copyright text by Michele Piccirillo; photos by Garo Nalbandian and Basilio Rodella

HOLY LAND OF THE CRUSADERS - 06
  Angel. From the Church of the Saviour at Gethsemane
 Remains at Gethsemane.
 Grotto of Gethsemane
 Stairs to Tomb of Mary
 
 Church of St Mary in the Valley of Josaphat The tomb of Our Lady Inside the Church of St. Mary
 

THE HOLY LAND OF THE CRUSADERS


Armenian Codex - Juda's Betrayal.


The Holy Sepulchre - Façade

The sanctuaries of Garden of Gethsemane
In the Garden of Gethsemane, to the east of the Kedron brook, the Crusaders reconstructed the basilica of Saint Saviour which was in memory of the praying of Jesus in the garden on the night of the Passion. In the excavations conducted by Franciscan Fathers on the occasion of the reconstruction of the basilica inaugurated in 1924, a stone ashlar with a plaster facing was recovered on which was the splendid head of an Angel. To the north of the basilica, the Grotto of the Apostles or of the Betrayal is adorned with frescoes with a sky of stars accompanied by texts written in Latin. The near sanctuary of the Tomb of the Our Lady in valle Iosaphat, as the church was known to the Crusaders, was entrusted by Godefroy de Bouillon to the monks of St. Benedict who provided for its reconstruction. The building was composed of two superimposed and intercommunicating churches with the monks monastery to the side which appeared as a small monastic fortress with high defensive walls and towers. The body of Queen Melisenda was interred in the crypt. After the return of the city into the hands of the Muslims, the monastery and the upper church were destroyed. Still today the austere facade and the monumental steps into the crypt, even without lights and the frescoes which decorated the walls, remain as testimony to the technical mastery of the Crusader architects. In the church the pilgrims revered the tomb of Our Lady carved out of the rock and still existing at the centre of the eastern arm of the crypt. From the descriptions of the pilgrims and from what remains we can have a clear enough idea of how was the building of marble and mosaics reconstructed by the Crusaders to protect the tomb.

LA TERRA SANTA DEI CROCIATI

I santuari Nell’Orto del Getsemani
Nell’Orto del Getsemani, a est del torrente Cedron, i Crociati ricostruirono la basilica di San Salvatore che ricordava la preghiera di Gesù nell’orto la sera della Passione. Nello scavo condotto dai Padri Francescani in occasione della ricostruzione della basilica inaugurata nel 1924, fu recuperato un concio di pietra sul quale era restata la splendida testa di un Angelo, probabile resto di una Ascensione. Nei pressi, la Grotta degli Apostoli o del Tradimento venne affrescata con un cielo di stelle accompagnate da scritte in latino. Il vicino santuario della Tomba della Madonna in valle Iosaphat, come era conosciuto dai Crociati, fu affidato da Goffredo di Buglione ai monaci di San Benedetto che provvidero alla sua ricostruzione. L’edificio composto da due chiese sovrapposte e intercomunicanti con a lato il monastero dei monaci si presentava come una piccola fortezza monastica con alti muri e torri di difesa. Nella cripta era seppellita la regina Melisenda. Dopo il ritorno della città in mano musulmana, il monastero e la chiesa superiore furono distrutti. Ancora oggi l’austera facciata e la monumentale scala di accesso alla cripta, anche se privata della luce e degli affreschi che ne decoravano le pareti, restano a testimoniare la maestria tecnica degli architetti crociati. Nella chiesa i pellegrini veneravano la tomba della Madonna scavata nella roccia e ancora esistente al centro del braccio orientale della cripta. Dalle descrizioni dei pellegrini e da quanto resta possiamo anche farci un’idea abbastanza precisa di come si presentava l’edicola di marmi e mosaici a protezione della tomba ricostruita dai crociati.


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