Day 6, Part 2:
We walked to Dormition Abbey next, a giant Catholic Church built on the house of St John the Theologian, north of the Garden of Gethsemane. The Catholic Church holds that the Panagia was entombed and then assumed in this place; the Orthodox say it happened in Gethsemane itself. There is a crypt here with a statue of Panagia lying in state, surrounded by icons of women from the Bible – Fr Clavdios said this is somewhat of a special shrine for women in particular.
Our final stop of the day was back at the Mount of Olives. We got a much better view of Jerusalem at the overlook, then went on to the monastery and church of the Ascension. Christ made his first and third appearances to His disciples here, the third being His Ascension into heaven. The church has the rock where we believe he stood under an icon stand, as well as a large variety of icons from many eras and styles. There was an ossuary with bones from a few of the patriarchs as well.
We ended early today, due to weather and exhaustion of our whole group – it was an exciting but draining day. Two more days of experiencing this Holy Place before we head back home!