Garo Nalbandian

Mt. Zion Monastery courtyard. Arriving in the Holy Land between 1335 and 1337, the Franciscan order erected their monastery—still standing in part, with this courtyard at its center—on Mt. Zion. In the 16th century, however, the Moslems forced the Franciscans to abandon the site. A Jewish Yeshiva now occupies the monastery building.

The Franciscans placed their monastery immediately adjacent to, and south of, the site of the Church of the Apostles, on land bought from the Saracens. The traditional location of the Last Supper, and the place where the apostles gathered after witnessing Christ’s ascension into heaven, the Church of the Apostles has a complex history of construction, destruction and reconstruction. Author Bargil Pixner traces this history, locates the first church’s extant remains and identifies its original nature as a Judeo-Christian synagogue.