The buildings to the north of the Rotunda house the Franciscan Monastery in which the friars in charge of officiating at the Tomb live. The buildings were initially the residence of the Constantinian Patriarch, the seat of the Bishop of the Mother Church.
In the original Constantinian design, a series of rooms on several floors overlooked a courtyard, an open quadrilateral around the Anastasis which served to give light to the windows of the apse of the Rotunda. Of the imposing structure which was the Patriarch’s residence, the ground-floor walls and those of a mezzanine nearly 11 meters high have been preserved. Archaeological investigations were carried out throughout the area of the Monastery by Father Corbo. Abbot Modestus, in the 11th century, had the Chapel of St. Mary built: from the Monastery one can see the still-intact portal with three openings, constructed from reused Roman columns and Byzantine capitals, allowing external entry into the chapel. In addition, a stairway, now blocked, permitted the Bishop of Jerusalem to enter the church directly from the Christian Souk road via the Crusader-built St. Mary’s Gate.
Christian pilgrims can pass through the Monastery to reach the Hall of the Crusaders, where it is possible to celebrate Mass.