The monks provide great attention and care for Holy Land pilgrims visiting the monastery, it is after all one of the most important shrines in the Holy Land, the remembrance of Mary, the Mother of God, causes believers from all over the world to visit the Church. The Dormition Abby is happy to offer groups of Christian pilgrims the possibility of celebrating the Eucharist in the Church. This is usually in the choir area of the upper Church, where the monastic family celebrates its divine worship. Besides celebrating the Eucharist, the monks have lived at the Abby for over 100 years, offering great experiences of the Holy Land, living in the present, the monks are also available for group discussions and conferences. It is important to contact the monastery in advance, so they make this a possibility during your Christian Holy Land group tour.
The Dormition Basilica is relatively young with barely 100 years of history. However it stands on old ruins and oral testimonies of Christian belief. When the room of the Last Supper was destroyed and lost during the Roman conquest in 70 A.D., a Jewish-Christian synogogue was built on Mount Zion, later named as the “Church of the Apostles.” In the 4th century it was renovated and became a small church. At the beginning of the 5th century a large Byzantine basilica was constructed in its place. This was also destroyed during the Persian invasion of 614. Only in the 12th century was a new church built by the crusaders, larger than all its predecessors and called “Santa Maria in Monte Sion.” However, when the Muslims retook the city from the crusaders in 1187, many traces of the brief Christian period were once more destroyed. The stone remains of Santa Maria are found today only in the area of the present day Room of the Last Supper and deep in the ground beneath the monastery and the church.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Germans purchased the plot of land on Mount Zion, it was still a field of rubble behind which arose the Prophet David complex. On October 7 the corner stone was laid down for construction of the Dormition Abbey, and in April 2010 the monks celebrated it’s 100th birthday. During the centuries, the local Christians have preserved the memory of two stones that they honored as stones from the house where Mary lived and died. Both these stones have found a place on the ground floor on the outer side of the tower, where even now holy land pilgrims come to pray