Dormition Abbey is an abbey found in Jerusalem. An Abbey is a Catholic Monestery under the authority of an Abbot or Abbess. It is also called by other name in the past. Between 1998 and 2006, Dormition Abbey was referred to as Hagia Maria Sion Abbey of the Virgin Mary. Currently, the Dormition buildings, community and academic works is currently supported by a foundation called Hagia Maria Sion.
When Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Jerusalem for the dedication of the Protestant Church of the Redeemer, he bought the land on Zion from Sultan Abdul Hamid II for 120,000 German Gold mark and presented it to the Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande or German Union of the Holy Land. According to traditions, this is the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary died. It is also believed that the Last Supper happened near the site. Base on the language scripture and Catholicism, death is often called or referred to as sleeping or falling asleep. And thus giving the original monastery the name Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition).
On 1899, architect Heinrich Renard who is the architect and building manager if the Diocese of Cologne investigated the site. There he found the remains of some church including remains of the Byzanite church of Higia Sion. The construction of Dormition Abbey was entrusted to architect Theodor Sandel who is also a resident in Jerusalem and a member of Temple Society. On October 7 1900, the foundation stone was laid. And in only 10 years, the construction was finished. On April 10 1910, the basilica was dedicated by the Latin Patriach of Jerusalem.
On 1906, monks were sent from Beuron Archabbey in Germany. On 1918, they were interned for the first time until 1921. The monastery was raised from the status of an abbey within the Beuron Congregation in 1926. And for the second time, on 1939, the monks were interned until 1945.
The Dormition Abbey was placed under the direct supervision of the Abbot-Primate of the Benedictined in Rome on both sides. And for the first time on 1979, the community decided to elect their own abbot. And was separated from the Beusron Congregation on 1951. During the Six Days War on 1967, the abbey caught fire.
And in regards to architecture, the current Dormition Abbey has a circular design with several niches containing altars and a choir. While the path or way that lead to the crypt, the ascribed site to the dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and also to the gallery and organ-loft (where the two of the church's tower can be accessed) is led by two spiral staircase.
While for the upper floor (where the Last Supper traditionally took place) is occupied by Nabi Da'ud (the Muslim's sacred place). The bell tower is placed afar so that it's shadow will not reach or touch Nabi Da'ub. Thus, the bell tower is not accessible directly from the church.