St Anne Church is located in the Muslim Quarter of Old Jerusalem, near the Lion’s Gate. It is a few meters away from the Sanctuaries of the Flagellation and the Condemnation at the very beginning of the Via Dolorosa
It is also near the Bethesda Pool, where, as per tradition Jesus healed a Paralytic. You may also see the remains of a Byzantine Church.
The Church of St Anne at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa
The Church of St Anne
It was built between 1131 and 1138 replacing an old Byzantine Church during the era of the Crusaders. The sponsor was Arda , widow of Baldwin I, the first titled King of Jerusalem. It was built on the site where a grotto and a Byzantine church signal to be the birthplace of Anne or Hannah in Hebrew, the Mother of Mary.
In 1192 after the conquest by Saladin, it was converted into a Muslim Theological school. It was abandoned until the times of the Ottoman Empire when it was donated to France in the middle of the 19th century. Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I, presented it to Napoleon III in gratitude for French support during the Crimean War,
Until today the church belongs to the French and run by a Catholic Order called the White Fathers.
It is well known that the church’s acoustic is so special, that the church itself is considered a musical instrument for the human voice, especially when it comes to sopranos and tenors singing solo.
The Main Altar at St Anne Church in Jerusalem
The church was designed in the Romanesque Architecture style, which is clean and simple with lots of clear space.
The main altar was designed by French sculpture Philippe Kaeppelin and shows many scenes like the Nativity, the Descent from the Cross and the Annunciation. In display are the teachings of Mary by her mother and a few steps down the crypt lead to the grotto where, as per tradition Mary was born. There is an altar dedicated to Mary on this spot.
Pilgrims singing at the Church of St Anne in Old Jerusalem
Popular with Christian Pilgrims
As the pilgrims visit the Via Dolorosa one of the most popular sites they visit is the Church of St Anne and many sing here their praise with religious songs, which by the way, are the only songs allowed in the premises.
Another attraction is that the Crusaders Architecture is very well kept and you may also see the ruin s of the Roman Temple.
credit for images:
church by berthold werner
mail altar n/a
all courtesy of wikimedia commons
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