..."Finally, let us look at the problem of the Ka ‘ba, the stone temple or House of God, which is to be found in the middle of the mosque of Mecca (see magazine cover), and which is the most important shrine in the Islamic world. Since Mecca did not exist, we have to ask ourselves what the word Ka ’ba meant to the Quranic author.
It is first mentioned in Sura IV, vs.6. It means “cube”—kubos in Greek—and pertains to the foundation stone of a house. Fr. Jomier in his article “Ka’ba,” says that the word “comes from the more or less ‘cubic’ form of this sanctuary.” He goes on to say that “the word was also used already to refer to specific sanctuaries of the same shape.” Br. Bruno has managed to identify two such sanctuaries: one at Petra, where the Quranic author and his faithful set out on the return to Jerusalem, and the other at the gates of Jerusalem. It is also important to note that the word Ka ‘ba appears for a fourth and final time in Sura LXXVIII, vs .33 bearing the meaning “virgins”—kawaa ‘iba. The two meanings are so radically different that we are justified to ask: “Is the Ka ‘ha “a house” or a “virgin”?
We know that the Ka ’ba was always associated with the esplanade maqam of Abraham, such that both one and the other were connected to the House— al bayta. The House is the Temple at Jerusalem and the maqam is the courtyard of the Temple—that is to say, the sacred Rock of Mount Moria. Thus, if we want to find the real origin of the Ka ’ba, we need to be looking at Jerusalem.
From a homily of St. Germain of Constantinople (634—733). concerned with the Dormition of our Lady and the transportation of her body from her home in Holy Zion to her "tomb" in Gethsemani. we learn that along this route there is a monument known in Greek as Kubos. He says: It is along the route followed by the funeral cortege, going down the valley of josaphat. that there is to be found a monument in the form of a cube... [It] is at the center of this cube that there is the venerated column which commemorates the miracle wrought in the healing of the impious Jew.
We also find the monk Epiphany, on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the seventh century, describing this monument with the word: tetrakoinin. He states, “It is a cubic edifice with four columns and crowned by a cupola.” Fr. Daniel (1099—1185) is even more precise:
It is 100 yards from the gates of the City (Jerusalem) to the place where Jephonias [the High Priest—Ed.] tried to throw down the body of the Holy Mother of God from her stretcher, who was being taken by the apostles to Gethsemani. An angel appeared, cutting off his two hands with a sword, and leaving his hands fixed to the stretcher. Fr. Daniel adds: “From this point to the tomb of the Holy Mother of God is 200 yards.” This allows us to situate precisely this cubic monument outside the Beautiful Gate on the eastern side of the Holy City. The miracle referred to by St. Germain is that “the impious Jew,” Jephonias, had his hands restored, and converted to the Catholic Church. Thus the apparent riddle is easy to solve.
In reparation for the attack on Our Lady, the Christians of Jerusalem put up a monument in her honor. The High Priest, Jephonias, came to it and was miraculously healed. It is plausible that during the seventh century, in the time of Epiphany, the Muslims still maintained respect and veneration for this holy place, kubos, consecrated to the Virgin, ka ’ba, and vilifying the impious action of Jephonias.
In this way, we see how easily the cube could become a virgin. The hypothesis at this stage for the good monk is that the Muslims took the Kubos to be a symbol of the House of Abraham, and thus transported it (or simply its base) at another date for reasons unknown. Of course, it could be that the Ka ‘ba in Mecca has wholly different origins, which have no connection whatever with the Qur’an."