During the renovation works at the Armenian Garden, important antiquities were uncovered, the very Reverend Father Baret Yeretzian, head of the Department of Real Estate of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, informs.
The findings will need more studying.
Among the artefacts found is a large stone Khatchkar which carries an inscription at the bottom, where the words “Lord Jesus, remember…” in Armenian can be read.
The Khatchkar itself has detailed engravings, showing an Armenian flowering cross as well as grape motifs. The Khatchkar could be from the 12th century or even earlier.
Also mosaic floors have been found. “We hope that careful excavation will reveal an even larger surface. Judging from the style, it seems to be from the Byzantine Era,” Father Baret Yeretzian said.
The mosaics are located in remnants of buildings, the dating of which is yet unclear.
The discovery of mosaics, the buildings and the Khatchkar are even more valuable, as Anestas Vartaped lists in his 7th century writing many Armenian Churches, chapels and monasteries in the Holy Land, many of which not known to us. It is possible that this discovery will shed more light on Armenian churches and chapels on Mount Zion.
Some copper coins of the Byzantine and/or Mamluk period have also been discovered.
“One thing is clear, namely that the Goveroon Bardez shows proof of early Armenian presence and worship in Jerusalem,” Father Baret Yeretzian said.