Tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi

Tomb of the Prophets
Plan of the tomb
Location Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°46′35″N 35°14′35″E  /  31.776444°N 35.243106°E  / 31.776444; 35.243106
Type burial chamber
Founded 1st-century
Site notes
Excavation dates 1870-74
Archaeologists Clermont-Ganneau
Ownership Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Public access Scheduled access (on-site caretaker)

The Tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (Arabic: قبر النبيا Qubur El Anbiyya, lit. "Grave (of) The Prophets") is an ancient burial site located on the upper western slope of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. According to a medieval Jewish tradition also adopted by Christians, the catacomb is believed to be the burial place of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the last three Hebrew Bible prophets who are believed to have lived during the 6th-5th centuries BC. Archaeologists have dated the three earliest burial chambers to the 1st century BC, thus contradicting the tradition.[1]

Burial chamber [ edit ]

The chamber forms two concentric passages containing 38 burial niches.[2] The entrance to the large rock-cut burial cave is on the western side, where a staircase descends, flanked on both sides by a stone balustrade.[3] It leads into a large circular central vault measuring 24 ft in diameter. From it, two parallel tunnels, 5 ft wide and 10 ft high, stretch some 20 yards through the rock. A third tunnel runs in another direction. They are all connected by cross galleries, the outer one of which measures 40 yards in length.[4]

Research shows that the complex actually dates from the 1st-century BCE, when these style of tombs came into use for Jewish burial. Some Greek inscriptions discovered at the site suggest the cave was re-used to bury foreign Christians during the 4th and 5th centuries CE.[5] On one of the side walls of the vault, a Greek inscription translates:

Put thy faith in God, Dometila: No human creature is immortal![6]

Holy site [ edit ]

The site has been venerated by the Jews since medieval times, and they often visited the site.[3][7][8] In 1882, Archimandrite Antonine (Kapustin) acquired the location for the Russian Orthodox Church.[9] He planned to build a church at the site, which aroused strong protests by the Jews who visited and worshipped at the cave.[10] The Ottoman courts ruled in 1890 that the transaction was binding but the Russians agreed not to display Christian symbols or icons at the site which was to remain accessible for people of all faiths.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700, 2008 (5th edition)
  2. ^ Gaalyahu Cornfeld (1973). I Love Jerusalem. Kinneret. p. 138. GGKEY:75S35PKF07B. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b Amos Kloner; Boaz Zissu (2007). The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. Peeters. p. 207. ISBN 978-90-429-1792-7. Retrieved 22 November 2010. The place is known as the "Tombs of the Prophets" due to a medieval Jewish tradition that Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were buried here.
  4. ^ Josias Leslie Porter (1866). The giant cities of Bashan and Syria's Holy places. T. Nelson and Sons. pp. 150–151. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  5. ^ Dave Winter (1999). Israel handbook: with the Palestinian Authority areas. Footprint Travel Guides. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-900949-48-4. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  6. ^ Louis Félicien Joseph Caignart de Saulcy; Edouard de Warren (1854). Narrative of a journey round the Dead Sea, and in the Bible lands, in 1850 and 1851. Parry and M'Millan. p. 166. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  7. ^ Nagel Publishers (1954). Israel. Nagel. p. 264. Retrieved 22 November 2010. This catacomb is venerated by the Jews as the tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
  8. ^ Israel Joseph Benjamin (1859). Eight years in Asia and Africa from 1846-1855. The author. p. 21. Retrieved 22 November 2010. Further down, towards the town, mid way up the mountain, is another cave, consisting of several divisions, containing the tombs of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, which are frequently visited by the Jews.
  9. ^ 19th Annual Conference of Judea and Samaria Studies, (Hebrew)
  10. ^ The Churchman. Churchman Co. 1883. p. 614. Retrieved 22 November 2010. On the ascent of the Mount of Olives is a burial place, which from immemorial time has been regarded as containing the remains of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. A Russian priest has been endeavoring to purchase it to build a church upon, but the Turkish government has, at the request of the Jews, deferred the completion of the sale.

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