Where Mary Rested (Protoevangelium of James 17)

The Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Biblical Archeological Review features an article on the discovery of a church commemorating a scene from the Protoevangelium of James (“Where Mary Rested,” pp. 44-51).

In chapter 17 of the text Joseph, Mary, and Joseph’s children journey to Bethlehem for the census. Three miles outside of the city Mary feels labour pains and stops to sit on a rock. According to Cyril of Scythopolis a church was built on the spot in 456. It is called the Kathisma, “seat” or “chair” in Greek. The church is described also in the account of the anonymous sixth-century Piacenza Pilgrim.

The church (more a martyrium actually) was rediscovered in 1993. The digs finished in 2000 and Dr. Rina Avner has written her doctoral dissertation at the University of Haifa on her excavations of the Kathisma.

The article includes photographs of the mosaics from the site and an image of the similarly structured house of St. Peter in Capernaum.

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One Response to Where Mary Rested (Protoevangelium of James 17)

  1. Kevin P. Edgecomb says:

    Great! I’ll go pick up that BAR. I just posted on this the other day, linking the Kathisma and Capernaum memorials also to the Gerizim and Temple Mount exemplars, the latter two each being a Church of Mary Theotokos.

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