Zev Radovan and Shlomi Amami, courtesy Yitzhak Magen

“This is the tomb of Paul, the monk and archimandrite” reads the inscription on this red stone, found in the floor of the church’s entrance hall. A description that appears in a sixth-century life of the monk Theodosius confirms Paul’s position as archimandrite, or leader, of the monastery: “When Martyrius, the Holy Father, gave up the spirit, all the monks of the Judean desert assembled” and named Theodosius head of the cenobitic monasteries in the district, and “as his deputy they appointed Holy Paul, abbot of the monastery of Father Martyrius.”

Scholars had long theorized that the Ma‘ale Adummim ruins were those of Martyrius’s monastery, based on their location and on the similarity between the Arabic name for the ruins, el-Murassas, and Martyrius. Discovering this tomb inscription during the 1981–1984 excavations confirmed their expectation.