Armenian Jerusalem
array of antennas on compound roofs
The Armenian presence in Jerusalem dates back to the 4th Century AD [some sources assert Armenians first came to the region around 90BCE]. Armenia, under King Tiridates IIi, became the first country to adopt Christianity as the state religion of Armenia, thus making the Armenian Kingdom the first state to embrace Christianity officially. Following that, a big number of Armenian monks came to the Cradle of Christianity - Jerusalem, which is considered the essence of their faith. The construction of St. James Armenian Monastery began in the same century. An Armenian scriptorium was established in the 5th century. A secular Armenian community was established in the 6th Century over the area neighboring Mount Zion, inside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. This Armenian community (nowadays called the citizens, "Kaghakatsiner") was mainly composed of merchants and artisans. The Armenian patriarchate was established in the 7th Century; while the Armenian Monastery was last expanded in the 12th Century. The Armenian Quarter developed gradually around St. James Monastery, and took its modern shape in the 19 Century. Before World War I, the number of Armenians in Jerusalem was around 2500 people. During the British Mandate of Palestine, thousands of 1915 Genocide survivors found refuge in St. James Monastery from 1918 and onwards. In 1925 around 15,000 [some sources put the figure at 25,000] Armenians have lived all over Palestine, mainly in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. In 1947 around 1,500 Armenian Genocide survivors repatriated to the Soviet Republic of Armenia (East Armenia). In 1967 East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied by the Israeli forces (which was under the Jordanian rule). This occupation resulted in a sharp drop off the Armenian population in general. After the collapse of the USSR and the independence of Armenia (1991), nearly 3,500 Armenians immigrated to the state of Israel. The majority of them (3,000) settled inside Israel, while only 150 of them are living now in Jerusalem. Nowadays, the number of Armenians who live in the Old City of Jerusalem is less than one thousand. Church of Holy Archangels The local "Kaghakatsi" Armenian Community call this church "Der el Zatouneh", which means the Convent of the Olive Tree. This convent is located in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the house of Annas who was involved in the trial of Jesus. Inside the convent is an olive tree, to which Christ was bound during his trial under Annas. There is also a chapel associated with the flagellation of Christ and a prison where Jesus was held before the judgment under Annas. The fruits of the sacred olive tree are miraculous. The Convent of "el Zatouneh" stands on the threshing floor of "Araunah the Jebusite", where David saw God standing between heaven and earth, with a naked sword in his Hand stretched out against Jerusalem. The foundation of the convent was laid by Queen Helen in the 4th Century AD. Dr. Gaby Kevorkian Former Chairman - JABU (April 29, 2015)
2015 Celebrating  90 years of JABU From strenght to strength From strenght to strength