Mark, Monastery of St.

Said to be located on the site of the Last Supper and named after the Evangelist, the monastery is situated on mount Zion in Jerusalem. Mention of the ‘House of Mark’ appears in the 9th cent. in the writings of Iwannis of Dara. An inscription, discovered in 1940, reads ‘This is the house of Mary, the Mother of John who was called Mark. And it was proclaimed a church by the Holy Apostles in the name of the Mother of God, Mary, after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven. It was built a second time after Jerusalem was destroyed at the hands of King Titus the year 73 of Christ’. The dating in the inscription is peculiar as one would expect a Seleucid calendar date, not a Christian one. Afram Barsoum dated the inscription to the 6th  cent. on paleographical grounds, while later scholars assign it to after the Monastery was acquired by the Syr. Orth. in the 15th cent. A monastery in the name of the Mother of God was purchased from the Copts in 1471/2, before which the Syr. Orth. had owned other properties in the city. Kaufhold identified this monastery with St. Mark’s based on a note in the 17th- cent. ms. London, Brit. Libr. Egerton 704 which was written in the ‘Holy Monastery of the Mother of God, called the House of Mark’, and ordination lists from the 18th cent. It was around the late 1400s that St. Mark’s became the seat of the Syr. Orth. bp. of Jerusalem. The monastery was renovated a number of times, the earliest known renovation being in 1718 by Gregorios Shimʿun of Ṣalaḥ, followed by another renovation by his successor Gregorios ʿAbd al-Aḥad b. Fanna of Mardin. Other renovations took place during 1738–44 by Gregorios Jirjis Fattal of Aleppo, during 1780–92 by Gregorios Bshara, and during 1833–40 by Gregorios ʿAbd al-Aḥad Dajjala. The last two renovations from the 19th cent. were done by Ostethewos ʿAbd al-Nūr of Edessa during 1840–77, and Gregorios Jirjis of Ṣadad in 1882. The monastery’s library includes a fine collection of mss., ca. 15 of which date from the 7th to the 15th cent. The library itself was established probably in the 16th or 17th cent., and the early mss. must have been brought from other monasteries in the city, especially from the Monastery of Mary Magdalene, and elsewhere. Some of the mss. of Dayr al-Zaʿfarān were transferred to it after World War I. In turn, some of its mss. were transferred by Patr. Afram  I Barsoum to the Patriarchate in Ḥimṣ prior to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, and later to Damascus. A few of the mss. were brought by Athanasios Yeshuʿ Samuel to the USA in 1948 and are kept now at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Teaneck, NJ. A catalog of the library was compiled by Dolabani. The monastery became famous with the first publication of the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls titled The Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark’s Monastery. In addition to the main church inside the monastery, dedicated to St. Mark, there is an adjacent chapel dedicated to Mar Behnam.

See Fig. 69.


  • G. B.  Behnam, Bayt Marqos fī Urašalim (1962).
  • F. Y.  Dolabany, Catalogue of Syriac manuscripts in St. Mark’s Monastery (Dairo dMor Marqos), ed. G. Y. Ibrahim (1994).
  • Y. K.  Karkenny, The Syrian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land (1976).
  • H.  Kaufhold, ‘Zur Bedeutung Jerusalems für die Syrisch-Orthodoxe Kirche’, in L’idea di Gerusalemme nella spiritualità cristiana del Medioevo (Pontificio Comitato di scienze storiche. Atti e documenti 12; 2003), 132–65.
  • G. A.  Kiraz, ʿIqd al-jumān fī akhbār al-Suryān (1988), 25–31.
  • T.  Maier, ‘L’Eglise syrienne orthodoxe de Jérusalem’, POC 54 (2004), 305–12.
  • J.  Pahlitzsch, ‘St. Maria Magdalen, St. Thomas und St. Markus’, OC 81 (1997), 82–106.
  • A.  Palmer, ‘The history of the Syrian Orthodox in Jerusalem’, OC 75 (1991), 16–43; 76 (1992), 74–94.
  • A. Palmer and G. J. van Gelder, ‘Syriac and Arabic inscriptions at the Monastery of St. Mark’s in Jerusalem’, OC 78 (1994), 33–61.

| Mark, Monastery of St. |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
URI   TEI/XML   Purchase  

Resources related to 10 other topics in this article.

Show Other Resources