The Israel Coins and Medals Corporation (ICMC) has released new gold and silver bullion medals which are part of their current series entitled “Holy Land Sites.” The theme of the series focuses on those revered Christian holy sites that are found in Israel, and which reaffirms the historic land as the centre of faith for the Christian world. The fifth set, which is dated 2023, features one of the Holy Land’s most venerated sites in Christendom, as it is believed to have been where Mary, Mother of Jesus, entered her eternal sleep. According to the Christian tradition, Mary did not die as an ordinary mortal but fell into an eternal sleep and was lifted up by her son Jesus into the heavens. Mount Zion is believed to be the location from where Mary was brought up into the heavens. The site is also the location of the Dormition Abbey, whose name is derived from the Latin word dormito, which translates to “sleep,” and where the Abbey derives its name. Located at Mount Zion in Jerusalem, it is in close proximity to the southern wall of the old city, near Zion’s Gate and David’s Tomb. The plan of constructing a memorial church where Mary entered eternal sleep was first devised in 1898 during a visit of German Emperor Wilhelm II. During his visit to the Holy Land, he purchased this parcel of land from the-then Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II and presented it as a gift to the Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande (“German Association of the Holy Land”) and thus entitled them to build the Church. Construction began soon after on the very site where the Byzantine basilica Hagia Sion was built under John II, Bishop of Jerusalem, in the early fifth century. It was destroyed in the 614 sack of Jerusalem, but its foundations were recovered in 1899, with the first new foundation stone laid in October 1900. The church was designed by architect Heinrich Renard of Cologne and features a conical roof that physically dominates Mount Zion and can be seen from almost every vantage point in the city. The style of Romanesque architecture can be seen in the magnificent roundness of the church’s dome, with a diameter of 15 meters. Out of regard for the nearby Jewish and Muslim sacred place of David’s Tomb, which occupies part of the ground floor of the Cenacle, and where it has traditionally been believed that the Last Supper took place, the bell tower was positioned where its shadow would not touch the tomb and is therefore not directly accessible from the church. Completed in 1910, it was dedicated in April 1910 by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Catholic abbey had originally belonged to the Benedictine Order in Jerusalem. In 1926 the monastery was raised to the status of an abbey within the Beuron Congregation, but in 1951, the abbey was separated from them and placed under the direct supervision of the Abbot-Primate of the Benedictines in Rome.
Designed by Ruben Nutels, the obverse side features an image of the main entrance to the church of Dormition Abbey. Above the primary design is the text DORMITION ABBEY alongside the same text in Hebrew. Below the commemorative English text is the medal’s specifications shown both in English and Hebrew with the year of minting 2023.
Common to the series is the medal’s reverse design, which depicts a collage of different sites in Jerusalem. In the background to the right is the Holy Trinity Church in the Russian Compound, to the left, is the YMCA building and in the foreground, to the right, is the Garden Tomb. To the left is an image of a kneeling Jesus praying at Gethsemane, and to the front left is part of the Agony in the Garden painting by Andrea Montegna. Above the collage is the inscription HOLY LAND SITES with the Holy Land Mint logo dividing the text seen in English and Hebrew.
|31.1 g||38.7 mm||Specimen||
|31.1 g||32 mm||Specimen||
Both the gold and silver one-ounce medal are available as separate items to order. Each medal is encapsulated and presented in a custom-branded Holy Land Mint case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information about these and other coins and medals issued by the Bank of Israel and the Israel Coins and Medals Corporation, please visit the website of the Holy Land Mint.
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