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The École Biblique

Empress Eudocia built the original church in the middle of the fifth century to house the Relics of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, and the adjoining Monastery complex served as a meeting-place for 10,000 monks in 516. After a Persian destruction of the church and the monastery (614), the Crusaders first rebuilt and then destroyed it in 1187 to avoid giving Salah Id-Din a base outside the walls. Father Marie-Joseph Lagrange, a French Dominican priest founded the Ecole Biblique in 1890 to study the biblical text in its context. It is the oldest academic institution in the Holy Land and a center of research and teaching offering a first-class library, archeological laboratories and a community of intellectuals.