Eutychius, Patriarch of Alexandria

Annals (10th century)

The Annals written by Eutychius in Arabic in the 10th century retrace history from the time of Adam and Eve to the Hegira of Muhammad. They contain particularly valuable information for the history of Palestine, Jerusalem and the many sanctuaries which are found there.

It is Eutychius who is our source for confirming that the Byzantine church in Gethsemane was built during the time of the Emperor Theodosius I (379-395 AD). He also mentions its destruction at the hands of the Persians in 614. The Annals seem to confuse two churches in the Kidron Valley, the one containing Mary’s Tomb and that at Gethsemane. Excavations in the early 20th century were able to identify the Byzantine church, which showed signs of a fire, perhaps the same one started by the Persians in 614. Despite the funds given by the Emperor Heraclius, the church in Gethsemane was not rebuilt and remained in ruins until the Crusader period.

“In Jerusalem King Theodosius had the church of Gethsemane built where the tomb of Mart Maryam (Mary’s Tomb) was located. The Persians subsequently destroyed it when they invaded Jerusalem, along with the other churches in the city, and today it still lies in ruins.” (Chap. XIII, 8)

“When he [Heraclius, Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641 AD] entered the city and saw what the Persians had destroyed and burned, he experienced a deep sadness.” (Chap. XVIII, 6)

“Heraclius made the monk Modestus, who was abbot of the Monastery of Theodosius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and ordered him to go with him to Damascus where he gave him a portion of the money that had been collected and of the funds for Palestine, so that all the churches in Jerusalem destroyed by the Persians might be rebuilt.” (Chap. XVIII, 7)