One of the most significant sites in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter, the walled Church of St James serves as the cathedral of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Georgians first built a church on the site — believed to be the location where St. James was beheaded — during the eleventh century. The structure was resorted by Armenians during the twelfth century.
Besides its ties to the martyred disciple, the Church of St James also houses the tomb of another James, the oldest brother of Jesus and the author of the Epistle of James, who was himself martyred in 62 AD.
The church ranks among the most ornate houses of worship anywhere in the holy land, adorned with hanging lamps, gilded icons and colorful woven carpets. The courtyard of the church features a series of interesting carved stone crosses, called khatchkars.
The interior of the Church of St James is only open during services, and modest dress is required.