Kathisma Church: Why is there such an absence of visitors to such an important if neglected site, which 1,500 years ago vied in importance with Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity?
Extraordinarily, although it is one of the most sacred locales in Christianity and one of the largest Byzantine-era churches in the Holy Land, close to zero pilgrims today visit the ruins.
Even more extraordinarily, archeologists believe the overlooked octagonal shrine and its decoration were the inspiration for the eight-sided Dome of the Rock.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: elevatechristiannetwork.com
Kathisma Church: Remains of a Byzantine-period church were discovered in 1992 near the Monastery of Mar Elias, when the highway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem was widened and a bulldozer accidentally uncovered and damaged a mosaic floor. In the first, limited excavations (October 1992 February 1993) only a section of the western part of the church was uncovered, revealing mosaic floors which were re-covered to ensure their preservation.
According to the 6th century “Life of Theodosius”, the church and the monastery of the “Old Kathisma” were built by the wealthy widow Ikelia at the time of Juvenalis, Bishop of Jerusalem (450 458). The account indicates that the church was built on the resting-place of Mary, halfway on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and dedicated to Mary Theotokos (God bearer).
Also, that St. Theodosius himself, who lived in the 5th century, was sent for training as a monk to the monastery of the “Old Kathisma”. From the 12th century onwards, a water cistern in this areas was noted as a holy site; it served as a refreshment and rest station for pilgrims traveling on the Jerusalem-Bethlehem road until the end of the last century.