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Basilica Foundations

Excavations along the south wall of the sixth century basilica reveal granite ashlars resting on bedrock.

A course of field stones was placed against the ashlars. This course is almost five feet below the present ground level.

6 comments to Basilica Foundations

  • Richard Saloom

    Father, Is the excavation being done for archeological purposes or for renovations/repairs? Your pictures and commentaries are so educational.

    • Father Justin

      We are laying new pipes to improve and extend the fire protection grid within the monastery. But we must understand what is beneath the walkway on either side of the basilica, and this gives archaeologists the opportunity to carry out excavations. We are also shoring up the foundations of the building opposite the church on the south side. The trench was only open a few days. It has now been filled in.

  • Sysse Engberg

    Dear Father Justin,

    which date is the dedication feast of the church?

    would it be in August?

    or can you think of any church connected with the Monastery which would have their dedication feast (enkainia) between 6th and 15th August?

    thank you so much in advance from a grateful user of your library!

    • Father Justin

      Procopius, the sixth century historian, writes, ‘the Emperor Justinian built for them a church which was dedicated to the Mother of God, so that they might be enabled to pass their lives therein praying and holding services’. The first hymn on the feast of the Annunciation mentions the Burning Bush as a foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation. This may have been the monastery’s original dedicatory feast.

      We also celebrate the memory of the Prophet Moses and the Prophet Elias as patronal feasts. And since both were present at the Transfiguration, this also became a patronal feast, depicted in the apse of the basilica, and celebrated on August 6.

      To all of these was added the feast of Saint Catherine.

      It’s not that one displaced the other. We have them all as patronal feast days.

  • Ioannis Grossmann

    Dear father Justin
    Do you have more photographs of the trench? As I understand, the course of field stones is five feet deep and situated below the pavement. What does the yellow rope indicate which goes along the wall?

    • Father Justin

      Petros Koufopoulos and Nicholas Fyssas took many photographs and made a careful archaeological analysis of the entire site. The yellow strings were indicators placed at regular intervals along the wall. My photograph was just one general view.

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