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Rare 800 Yr Old Christian Monastery Seal Discovered in Jerusalem

The seal was found in an excavation in 2012 in the Bayit Ve'Gan neighborhood among farmstead artifacts.
Seal of Mar Sabas

Seal of Mar Sabas
Photo Credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

A rare 800-year-old Christian monastery lead seal was discovered in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Bayit Ve’Gan, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Tuesday.

The seal – or bulla, as it is known in Latin – was found during an excavation in the summer of 2012 at the Horbath Mizmil archaeological dig, and has since been identified as belonging to the Saint Sabas monastery. The site was abandoned at the end of the Byzantine period and resettled during the Crusader period (11-12 CE) and reached maximum population during the Mamluk period (13-15 CE). Artifacts discovered during the excavations reflected daily life in a farmstead there – and the seal.

S. Sabas – or Mar Saba, in Syriac – was an important leader among the Christian monasteries during the Byzantine period in the area of the Judean Desert.

The seal bears an inscription for Mar Saba, the saint, in Greek, with his likeness, on one side, and a second inscription attributing the item to the saint’s largest monastery, the ‘Great Laura’ during the Byzantine period in the Jerusalem area. The two parts of the seal, which are meant to be pressed together, are connected by a single thread.

Dr. Yuval Baruch, IAA regional archaeologist for Jerusalem and surrounds, presented the unique find to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, who noted its importance for the history of Christianity in the Holy Land and its significance for archaeological research.

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


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9 Responses to “Rare 800 Yr Old Christian Monastery Seal Discovered in Jerusalem”

  1. Saving history is very important.

  2. Ok, now return our Menora

  3. That’s cool! Look how quick it got to those that knew its importance for them to study care and share the find! Amazing how this simplicity can also turn into complicated headaches, when most can be done like this! And we call that progress??

  4. The US has 8 million Catholics. We will vote to let the Mexicans stay in our country. They are all Catholics too, and hopefully since the orthodox and catholic church were together ar one time as one church im guessing fhe Orthodox church will votd them in..wonderful find in Isreal..

  5. If the Menora is actually at the vatican our papa will return it. Why would we want it? No one in this century put it there or stole it..get a grip

  6. I wonder, since this was roughly the time of the Christian Crusades, if the monks of this monastery participated in using the Temple Mount as a garbage dump with other Christians?

  7. But one has to know the history of the vatican. You can get on any Catholic website and see how proud we are finally of a papa that we believed is full of God. The vatican has a dark history, The Catholic people suffered through it as well. The
    Vatican was taken over by royal families, kings and queens. That position was deemed important and it was they who decided who would sit in that chair. Not the church. Those popes were not popes of the church but relatives or sons of the royal families. The popes would be poisoned out of rivalry or jealous royals. One actually only lived hours before going to his death. This is the time of wars and bowimg down to a pope, as to bow down to royalty. The church today enters behind closed doors and prays that God will pick the next pope. That was not the case for centuries and what people only remember of our church. And if an Godly man did happen to be picked by royalty they would be killed. They even dug a corspe up and put the corspe on trial. You should read about the popes and the vatican. It was not the church it started out to be, it was imprisoned by the leaders of kings and queens whomtook it over.. There is an orifinal church built underneath rhe lavish church of today. The riches of the vatican were of these corrupt popes taken over by the kings and queens royal families. im saying this because of the year and time this was taken and hid in the vatican. Something could have happened to it or even it could have been discarded during this period because of the Jewish impliment. I pray that our papa can find it and return it
    I think he would do it joyfully. But there still lies the question if it is still there…

  8. and many other things….

  9. Noting that when we find things no one knows was lost, we return them while we wait for what has been outright stolen to be returned. “Good” and “right” is not in words but in action.

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