We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

London, United...
Level Contributor
516 posts
172 reviews
Save Topic
Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

I would love to visit the Church of Saint Mary Magdalena but I see it's only open from 10-12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I may not be able to be there then. Can anyone tell me if it's possible to at least view it from the outside (not from a distance) or is it in a locked garden? I've researched photos of the interior to see what I might miss. Does anyone have a view of whether the inside is really worth it? Thanks

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
15,091 posts
217 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

There is a great view of it from Dominus Flevit, and you can take some pictures from the outside. You may also get lucky and be able to go in with some Russian pilgrims -- in 2008, I asked and my friend and I were allowed to do so. A priest at Dominus Flevit suggested "follow the Russians" -- and I did. :-)

Douglas Duckett

London, United...
Level Contributor
516 posts
172 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

Thanks. You were lucky! Just as long as I can wander around the exterior rather than from afar (which I agree looks good too) then hopefully that will be enough.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
15,091 posts
217 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

There is a gate and fenced area, and in all honesty, I can't remember how well you can see the church if you are outside of that. Can others help?

Douglas Duckett

P.S. You are right -- we were lucky. We had a lot of luck on that trip. Being in there with Russian pilgrims who suddenly broke into a cappella versions of old Slavic hymns was quite special.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
5,946 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

I think the grounds are closed when the church is not open. I went there many years ago. Being Jewish and young, I was so intimidated by the nuns who were really mean and nasty to us. I can't even remember what the inside looked like I was so nervous all the time. The only thing I do remember is being intimidated. I don't think these nuns are big fans of visitors judging from comments from others over the years.

Douglas was really lucky.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
5,946 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

To see a truly beautiful chapel you can visit the one at the Austrian Hospice in the old city. It is like a work of art and I never see it promoted to people who are looking for beautiful Christian sites. I know they still have masses there, it is Roman Catholic, I believe.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
18,561 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

The grounds are locked when the church is closed - the entire complex is surrounded by a high wall and the only access is a narrow road so that when it is closed you won't be able to see much of anything except for the gold onion domes from a distance.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
16,767 posts
309 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

No, you cannot see the church from close up when it is closed as there is a high wall and sold metal gate that closes off the area to visitors. As mentioned you may be able to 'join' a Russian pilgrimage group who is going to the church as you walk past on the Mt. of Olives, but don't count on this. If is happens it does, if not -- not. Or try to arrange your schedule to be on the Mt. of Olives during visitors hours (be sure that there are no unexpected closures do to holidays/Saints Days, etc which may close the site on regular visiting days.

Chana

Israel

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
15,091 posts
217 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

And -- and either Oreets or Chana or someone else can confirm this -- as I recall, the opening hours are based on standard time, so when Israel is on summer time (Daylight Savings Time) in the US, the hours are one hour earlier than the time that the rest of the country goes by (if that is not already confusing enough). That may no longer be true, but a reliable guidebook on the churches of Jerusalem a few years ago stated that.

Douglas Duckett

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
18,561 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

Douglas, I'm not sure that the standard time issue is relevant any longer. Checking with the Christian Information Center (and they are quite dependable) shows that the church is open from 10-12 twice a week throughout the year.

I actually had the opportunity to visit the church a few weeks ago with a lovely couple from the US. I must admit it was the first time I had ever been there when the church was open. The grounds are beautiful. The church is quite lovely too and I would definitely recommend taking the time to visit, if it works into your schedule.

London, United...
Level Contributor
516 posts
172 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Church of Saint Mary Magdalena

Thanks for all your helpful posts. I am glad I checked. I will try and make sure I am there on either a Tuesday or Thursday then. It sounds too pretty to miss.