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Visiting Mary’s Tomb in Jerusalem

Mary’s Tomb is a site at the Kidron valley, opposite the old city of Jerusalem. According to some of the Eastern churches, the place marks the burial of Mary, mother of Jesus, and later  her Assumption.

The tomb is in a cruciform shpaed crypt at the bottom of the kidron valley, next to  Grotto of Gethsemane and the  Garden of Gethsemane. It was originally built some 800 years ago, at the time of the Crusader Queen Melisenda.

marys tomb jerusalem

In fact, Melisenda and her mother, Morphia, are also buried in the crypt, though  the Eastern church attributes these tombs to Anna and Joachim, parents of Mary. They also argue Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, is buried at here.

For a full appreciation of the site it is recommended to combine it with a guided day tour of Jerusalem.

Where and How Mary ended her earthly life?

While the Gospels record, in detatil, the death (and resurrection) of Jesus, the ending of the earthly life of Mary, Jesus’ mother, is not documented anywhere in the New Testament.

The Roman-Catholic church teaches, as dogma, that “having completed the course of her earthly life, [Mary] was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”. The raising of Mary to the heavens, by Jesus, is called “The Assumption”.

However, the dogma does not clarify whether Mary physically died or not. Since the feast celebrating the Assumption of Mary is called “The Dormition of the Mother of God” there is a common Catholic belief that Mary never died but rather fell asleep. (“Dormio” is Latin for “being asleep”).

On the other hand, the Eastern / Orthodox Churches believe that the term “Dormition” expresses the fact that Mary did die, but without suffering, in a state of spiritual peace.

Being so, the eastern churches in Jerusalem argue that the burial of Mary was in a cave near the Garden of Gethsemane, east of the old city of Jerusalem.  The Roman-Catholic church commemorates the Dormition (= falling asleep) of Mary, at a different location, on Mount Zion. A Benedictine order maintains the impressive complex of Dormition abbey. In its crypt a a wooden sculpture presents the sleeping Mary.


Perhaps Mary ended her earthly life in Ephesus?

There is another, third tradition, claiming Mary moved to Ephesus (in modern Turkey), and so her Assumption occurred there. To this day a chapel near Ephesus marks the supposed place of this event. This site and its association to Mary was never officially excepted, or rejected, by any of the churches, yet it is a popular Christian pilgrimage destination.


Contact Us to Inquire About a Tour of Jerusalem that will include a visit to Mary’s Tomb

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Points of Interest in the Area

gethsemane-2Garden of Gethsemane
 stephanus churchSaint Stephanus church
  kidron valley tombs Kidron Valley Tombs

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