Arculf, ‘Umar, and the Church of the Ascension Cover Image
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Arculf, ‘Umar, and the Church of the Ascension
Arculf, ‘Umar, and the Church of the Ascension

Author(s): David Woods
Subject(s): 6th to 12th Centuries
Published by: Slovanský ústav Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i. and Euroslavica
Keywords: Jerusalem;Mount of Olives;Church of the Ascension;muslim invasion ;Theophilus of Edessa;‘Umar

Summary/Abstract: The contradictory descriptions of the interior of the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem by Adomnán in his De Locis Sanctis and Hugeburc in her Vita Willibaldi point to its sack before Jerusalem was surrendered to the Muslim invaders in c. 638. Adomnán describes the interior as it was restored following the fi rst sack by the Persians in 614, and Hugeburc describes it as it was restored following a second sack by the Muslims in or before 638. However, the claim by Theophilus of Edessa, as preserved by the various witnesses to his text, that the caliph ‘Umar I ordered the removal of a cross from the roof of a church on the Mount of Olives, probably identifi able as the Church of the Ascension, is best dismissed as an aetiological myth designed to explain the presence of an opening (oculus) in the dome of the Church of the Ascension where a large cross would normally have stood.

  • Issue Year: LXXV/2017
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 55-69
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English