Laura of Euthymius

The Laura of Euthymius was a laura in the present-day West Bank founded by Saint Euthymius the Great (377–473) in 420. After its final abandonment in the 13th century, it was repurposed as a caravanserai and became know as Khan el-Ahmar, the Red Caravanserai, khan being an originally Persian word for inn or caravanserai.

Laura of Euthymius
Khan el-Ahmar ("Red Caravanserai")
The Laura of Euthymius
Laura of Euthymius is located in the Palestinian territories
Laura of Euthymius
Location within the Palestinian territories
General information
Architectural styleByzantine
Coordinates31°49′00.40″N 35°21′31.50″E / 31.8167778°N 35.3587500°E / 31.8167778; 35.3587500Coordinates: 31°49′00.40″N 35°21′31.50″E / 31.8167778°N 35.3587500°E / 31.8167778; 35.3587500
Palestine grid1819/1332 􏱮􏱱􏱮􏱲􏱬􏱮􏱯􏱯􏱴􏱮􏱱􏱮􏱲􏱬􏱮􏱯􏱯􏱴
Icon of St. Euthymius

It shouldn't be confused with the nearby Khan al-Hatruri, better known to visitors as the Good Samaritan Inn, which sometimes also used to be called Khan al-Ahmar.[1]


Under St Euthymius (428-473)Edit

The church was consecrated by Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem on 7 May 428.[2] The lavra, a cluster of cells for hermits around a church, was located in Adummim on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem and was based on the layout of the Pharan lavra, with small cells.[3] The vita of the founder, also known as Euthymius of Lesser Armenia, mentions him living his first years as a monk in the Holy Land (406–11) at Pharan.[4]

Byzantine period after EuthymiusEdit

Following the death of Euthymius on 20 January 473 the church was converted to a refectory and a new church and cenobium were built above it.[4] The ceonobium was the area that novitiate monks would receive training prior to admittance to a lavra of the Sabaite tradition.[5] The new church was consecrated by Martyrius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 482 and the site thereafter became known as the Monastery of St. Euthymius.[6] The lavra, ruined by an earthquake in 660, was rebuilt in a similar manner.[4]

Crusader periodEdit

In 1106 Abbot Daniel noted: "To the east of the laura of St. Saba, only behind the mountain, is the Monastery of St. Euthymius, three versts away, and there lies St. Euthymius, and many other holy fathers lie there, and their bodies are as those of living people. There is a little monastery on a level place, and about it are rocky mountains some distance off. The monastery was established with a surrounding wall and the church was elevated. And there is quite close to it the Monastery of St. Theoctistus, under the mountain only half a day's walk from the Monastery of Euthymius, and all this has been destroyed now by pagans".[7][8]

The monastic complex went through a massive restoration and construction phase in the 12th century during the Crusader period, but was finally abandoned in the next century.[4]

Significance of the lauraEdit

The Laura at Euthymius was essential in the advancement and organisation of the Sabaite (desert monastic) movement,[5] and was central to the development of the non-Chalcedonian orthodoxy and miaphysism within Palestinian monasticism and Oriental Orthodoxy.[9]

Caravanserai (Khan al-Ahmar)Edit

After the abandonment of the monastery in the 13th century, the structures were converted during the same century into a travellers' inn, known as Khan al-Ahmar, a caravanserai for Muslim pilgrims on the route between Jerusalem and Mecca via Nabi Musa.[4]

The English Reverend Haskett Smith, who guided European groups in Palestine in the late nineteenth century and edited the 1892 Murray's Handbooks for Travellers to Syria and Palestine, recorded a visit to Khan al-Ahmar with a tour group journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho in his 1906 travelogue Patrollers of Palestine:

The entrance was through a wide archway in the side nearest to the road, and this archway opened into a covered courtyard with two similar arches at the further end, and doors leading into chambers on either side. Beyond the covered court was a spacious open square, surrounded on three sides by the high walls of the khan, and on the fourth bounded by the chambers and the court. A man in native costume was at one corner of the covered court, making coffee over a charcoal brazier, and at the same time filling and preparing a narghileh. There were several of these narghileh pipes arranged on a shelf near the brazier. The man was the innkeeper, or, as he is known by the natives, the khanidjeh. A few muleteers and other wayfarers were squatting or lying on the floor of the court, and some horses and mules were tethered in the open square within.[10]

Access and tourismEdit

The site is east of Mishor Adumim, the industrial zone of Ma'ale Adumim, and is accessible to visit.[11]

See alsoEdit

  • Monastery of Martyrius, a ruined Byzantine monastery in nearby Ma'ale Adumim
  • Mar Saba, the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas, Byzantine monastery (still working), also in the Judaean desert


  1. ^ "ATQ/21/6 (letter to Deputy District Commissioner Jerusalem)". The Israel Antiquities Authority: The scientific Archive 1919-1948. 27 July 1928. Retrieved 22 August 2019. It is reported to us on good authority that the people of Silwan claim ownership of this site upon which are the ruins of the monastery and church of St Euthymius situated a little to the South of the old road to Nabi Musa on a track branching from the road to Jericho at a point between the 13th and 14th kilometre stones. The place is known as the Khan al-Ahmar but is not to be confused with the Good Samaritan Inn known by the same name.
  2. ^ Denys Pringle (1998). The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: L-Z (excluding Tyre). Cambridge University Press. p. 229. ISBN 9780521390378.
  3. ^ Patrich Joseph (2001) The Sabaite Heritage in the Orthodox Church from the Fifth Century to the Present Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-0976-5 p 342
  4. ^ a b c d e Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome (2008) The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700 Oxford University Press US, ISBN 0-19-923666-6 p. 335
  5. ^ a b Patrich, Joseph (1995) Sabas, Leader of Palestinian Monasticism: A Comparative Study in Eastern Monasticism, Fourth to Seventh Centuries Dumbarton Oaks, ISBN 0-88402-221-8 pp 265-266
  6. ^ Denys Pringle (1993). Op. Cit.. p. 230. ISBN 9780521390378.
  7. ^ Chitty, D. J. (January 1928). Two Monasteries in the Wilderness of Judaea. Quarterly Statement. London: Palestine Exploration Fund. pp. 134-152 (138). Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  8. ^ Mme B. de Khitrowo, translator [Khitrovo, Sofya Petrovna, née Bakhmetyeva (1846-1910)] (1889). Vie et pèlerinage de Daniel, hégoumène russe (1106-1107): The Monastery of Saint Euthymius. Itinéraires russes en Orient (in French). I, i. Geneva: Imprimerie Jules-Guillaume Finck: Société de l'Orient Latin. p. 35. Retrieved 5 September 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Patrich, Joseph (2001) The Sabaite Heritage in the Orthodox Church from the Fifth Century to the Present Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-0976-5 p 289
  10. ^ Smith, Haskett (1906). Patrollers of Palestine. p. 290.
  11. ^ "Euthymius Monastery". Retrieved 5 July 2018.


External linksEdit