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Nea Church, 543 CE

Nea_Church

Nea Church

“In June 1970, preparations were being made for the construction of a dwelling in the court of the Batei Mahse, near the Rothschild House. This complex, founded in the previous century by Jews from Germany, centered around a large courtyard popularly called “Der Deutscher Platz.” A Hebrew newspaper of over a century ago (Hamagid, 1862) relates how an ancient wall was discovered during the digging of the foundation for the Batei Mahse. The wall, built of very large stones, was discovered together with a marble pavement. Conrad Schick, the Swiss architect who resided in Jerusalem at that time, also reported this find.” The wall was found to be part of the Nea Church.

In 1976-77, the southern supporting wall of the Nea Church was found, which led archaeologists to be able to estimate the overall width of the church to be 105 meters.

In January 1982, The southern internal apse of the Nea church was uncovered during construction work near the Turkish city wall.

Nea_Church_Inscription

 

Nea Church Inscription

A Greek inscription molded in plaster found in the excavation of the Nea commemorates the completion of the church in 543 C.E. It was found in a cistern of the Nea Church and states that “this work too was donated by our most pious Emperor Flavious Justinian.” In addition to praising Justinian for carrying out the project, it also mentions that Constantinus, the abbot of the church’s monastery, supervised the work. The inscription was carefully framed by a tabula ansata with its flanking triangular handles. A more detailed description of the church appears in the sixth-century account of the Byzantine court historian Procopius.

Avigad, Nahman, Discovering Jerusalem, Shikmona Publishing Co, Jerusalem, 1980, p. 230-234.

“Found After 1400 Years—The Magnificent Nea,” BAR, Dec 1977.

Taylor, Joan, “The Nea Church; Were the Temple Treasures Hidden Here?” BAR, Jan-Feb 2008.

Israel Museum

See also-

The Churches of Jerusalem, Asher Ovadiah

Posted in: Byzantine Period

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