Following Nablus Road

In 421 CE, wealthy, educated woman named Eudocia allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem, constructed half dozen churches and monasteries.

August 20, 2011 03:59
Church of St. Etienne

Church of St Etienne_521. (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)


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In 421 CE, a wealthy and well-educated woman named Eudocia married Byzantine emperor Theodosius II. Some years later, after hearing that Theodosius suspected her of adultery, the empress was forced to flee for her life. Theodosius is said to have dispatched an assassin after his consort, who slew several of her companions before brave Eudocia managed to kill the assailant with her own hands. In the end, Theodosius took a different approach and sent his spouse into exile in the Holy Land with more than enough money to keep her in comfort.

Constantinople’s loss was Jerusalem’s gain, for although Eudocia was a devout Christian, she was extremely sympathetic to non-believers. Eudocia permitted the Jews, who had been banned from Jerusalem since 135, to return to their holy city and financed all kinds of charitable institutions for Jerusalem residents. With the help of her husband’s stipend, she constructed half a dozen splendid churches and monasteries in Jerusalem and extended the outer walls to include the City of David and Mount Zion.


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