This site commemorates Jesus' Last Supper, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The Franciscan order constructed this building in 1335 AD, and when they were expelled in 1523, it became the Nabi Daoud mosque. Note the handsome carved mihrab (prayer niche facing Mecca), and the Crusader capitals of the columns. The Arabic inscriptions honor King David.
According to tradition it is the place where the last Supper occurred, where the apostles returned after witnessing the ascension of Jesus and where Peter delivered his sermon after the Holy Spirit had descended upon the apostles on Pentecost. The room immediately above the "Tomb of David" is dedicated to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and is called "Chapel of the Holy Spirit."
This empty cenotaph is supposed to be the real tomb of the king. It is covered with embroidered cloths and on it stand silver Torah crowns and Torah rolls.
The altar may bring to mind the incense altar in the Temple, where the old priest Zacharias was officiating. An angel announced to him that he and his long barren wife were to have a son, "and you will give him the name John." Zacharias doubted what he had heard, and so the angel struck him dumb until the thing should come to pass.
Ein Kerem is the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. From Luke 1:39, we know that his parents, Elizabeth and Zacharias, were living in the hill country, in a city of Judah, but the town is not named.
Mary's prayer is called the "Magnificat." It appears in 41 different languages on as many plaques in the courtyard.
While John was in Elizabeth's womb, the pregnant Mary visited her. To the southwest, on a hill, the facade of a Church of the Visitation presents a mosaic (made in 1955) depicting Mary's visit to Elizabeth (Luke 1: 39-45) : Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."
The village of 'En Kerem is situated to the west of Jerusalem. It is nice, green and hilly. Here is found the Grotto of the Birth of St. John. On the lintel is a Latin inscription "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people" (Luke 1:68)---the first words of the prophecy uttered by Zacharias at the birth of his son. The full text is written in many languages on walls of the courtyard.
In the church courtyard, a striking pillar is supposed to mark the spot of Peter's denial when confronted to the High priest's servant.
A Byzantine shrine dedicated to Peter's repentance was erected on this spot in the middle of the fifth century and was later destroyed by Moslem invaders. The chapel was rebuilt by the Crusaders and given a new name: St. Peter's in Gallicantu. Galli-cantu means cock-crow in Latin and today a golden rooster protrudes prominently from the sanctuary roof.
Few structures combine the ancient with the new as successfully as the dazzling Church of St. Peter on the eastern slopes of Mount Zion. Erected in 1931 to commemorate Peter's triple rejection of Jesus and his subsequent remorse, the church is an amazing blend of contemporary lines, primitive art, and antiquity. All have been brilliantly fused together to create a superbly designed masterpiece which make it far more than an ordinary house of worship.
At the Dormition Basilica, in the center of the crypt under a mosaic dome, is a sculpture of Mary lying on her deathbed.
In the background,the church of Saint Peter in Galicantu
Father John De Ridder s.j. and Fathers F. Shelton, C. Perera, J. Nechikatt & O. Kumbalakushy (Indian Diocesan priests-students at Leuven), concelebrate in the Basilica cared for by German Benedictine monks.
The Dormition Abbey was built when Kaiser Willem II had been able to acquire the site from the Sultan in 1898 and in 1908 the Dormition Basilica was consecrated. The lovely mosaic floor has three interlocking circles in the middle as a symbol of the Trinity.
The neo-Romanesque Catholic Basilica, Dormitio Sanctae Mariae Church, is in a dominant position on Mount Zion.
Near the church built there called St. Peter in Gallicantu, ruins have been uncovered. They could be what is left of the house of Caiphas the High Priest.
This is the Kidron Valley below the Golden Gate (right of center along the wall) with the Mount of Olives behind . In 2000 the ground near the Golden Gate collapsed revealing a gate below the modern one. The hole was filled as this area is a Moslem graveyard. The southwestern portion of this wall was close to first century Herodian (Second Temple era) foundations of the outer wall of Jerusalem. Jesus may have exited a gate facing east towards the spot the photo was taken from.
View of the city wall from the Mount of Olives
Beneath the church are a series of carved-out chambers from the Second Temple period. Since Catholic tradition positions the palace of Caiaphas on this very site, it logically follows that Jesus may have been imprisoned in one of these very same underground crypts. Jesus was taken to the torture chamber. There is no other name for the place that fits the setting. It is a room, hewn in the rocks. Pillars of stone were not hewn away so that they can support the buildings above. Holes were bored through both the vertical columns and the lintel above so that each arm can be secured from the roof and each leg stretched out sideways and attached to the pillars. The prisoner is suspended in the air and every part of his body is available for the whip of the questioners. They beat him, questioned him, tortured him and threw him into a nearby pit. The pit too is a form of torture. There is only one entrance, from above. It is nearly twenty feet deep. It was probably first used as a cistern and is usually subject to dampness. It was filthy and probably had several inches of water on the floor. Jesus was beaten, bleeding, and weary, in great pain and there was no place to sit except in the muddy water in the bottom of a pit.
On a lower level of the St Peter in Gallicantu church, there is easy access to a succession of caves from the Second Temple period. And finally, you exit into an excavated yard which includes a stone trail probably dating back to that same era. Many Christians believe that Jesus followed this path down to Gethsemane on Holy Thursday night.
Mount Zion, today with Jewish, Christian and Moslem shrines, was already part of the upper town at the time of Herod.
This site commemorates Jesus' Last Supper, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost . The Franciscan order constructed this building in 1335 AD, and when they were expelled in 1523, it became the Nabi Daoud mosque. Note the handsome carved mihrab (prayer niche facing Mecca), and the Crusader capitals of the columns. The Arabic inscriptions honor King David.
The Kedron Valley lies between the Town of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.
Laying waste a bucolic landscape, the Hadassah, a real university & hospital township, has been erected in the years 60 above Ein Kerem. Around a 600-bed hospital, a dental school, medicine and pharmacy faculties have been opened. Tourists are invited to follow an audiovisual show of this unique higher learning entity in the Near East, and to visit the brightly-lit synagogue with 12 exquisite stained-glass made in Paris by the painter Marc Chagall and the stained glass artist Charles Macq, depicting the blessings that Jacob, on his deathbed, bestowed to each of his 12 sons (Genesis 49:1-27). The sons of Jacob became the founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.