On Mount Scopus, the Palace Hotel offers a distant view of the Temple Square (left background)
Prior to the Six-Day War, Ammunition Hill was Jordan's most heavily fortified stronghold in divided Jerusalem. Its central bunker served as a command post, mess hall and storage area for weapons and other war material. A maze of trenches and pillboxes on the hill was connected with the bunker. The battle for Ammunition Hill was fierce and cost the lives of 24 Israeli paratroopers. As a result of the victory, Israeli forces could open the road to Mt. Scopus and the fall of the Old City was greatly facilitated. These two achievements were crucial to the reunification of the city. Today, a memorial and museum are on the site. The main attraction on Mount Scopus is the spectacular panoramic view of the city, the Hebrew University and the Mount of Olives.
The memory persisted that Jesus had taught here. A shift occurred, however, in the notion of what teaching he had delivered. It was now thought to be the Lord's Prayer. When Luke reports Jesus' teaching this prayer (11:1-4), he does not name a particular place. In Mark 11:25-26, however, while on the Mt. of Olives, Jesus says, "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions. Recognizing this as part of the prayer that is given in Luke, people located the whole prayer on the mountain, in the cave that already carried an association with Jesus' teaching. When the Crusaders erected a church here in the 12th century, they called it "Pater Noster." Crusader pilgrims reported seeing the Lord's Prayer inscribed on plaques.
A convent of Carmelite Cloistered Sisters was added to the site. Today the Lord's Prayer appears here in 110 languages.
In 1868 An Italian woman, Aurelia Bossie, Princess de la Tour d'Auvergne, built a cloister here, on the inner wall of which she put 32 copies of the Lord's Prayer in different languages. Later she added a Carmelite convent. One sees her sarcophagus while passing through.
On a rock inside can be seen a footprint which is identified according to Christian tradition as the print that Jesus left as he ascended to Heaven: "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven" (Luke, XXIV 50-51).
Located at the highest point of Jerusalem, is the Chapel of Ascension. Erected by Queen Helena in the year 392 AD, this Chapel (or Mosque) marks the site where Jesus ascended into heaven. Since the time of its construction, the octogonal shrine has undergone many facelifts. Destroyed by the Persians in the year 614 AD, the Church was eventually reconstructed to its present day dimensions by the Crusaders. The site was ultimately acquired by two emissaries of Saladin in the year 1198 and has remained in the possession of the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem ever since. The Crusader building was converted to a mosque but was never used by Muslims since the overwhelming majority of visitors were Christian. As a gesture of compromise and goodwill, Saladin ordered the construction of a second mosque and minaret two years later next to the Chapel for Muslim worship, while Christians continued to visit the main Chapel. In the center of the main dome is a stone bearing the worn footprint of Christ as he ascended into heaven. During the Byzantine period, pilgrims were allowed to walk off with pieces of the stone. In the nearly two millenium since the ascension, countless visitors have inflicted a heavy toll on the poor old footprint.
From here comes to mind the indescribable spectacle of what Jesus saw, of that brilliant sun climbing up behind Olivet to the crystal clear sky and enveloping in its light the splendid city stretching over the opposite hills. The Herodian towers on Mount Sion glowed in the immaculate whiteness of their marbles; lower down, magnificent palaces follow one another in many lines like the various flights of steps of a huge amphitheatre; and finally in the foreground, the Temple, a marvel of antiquity, the Temple that rose majestically above the Valley of Kidron enhanced by its hundreds of monolithic columns, by its towers covered with precious marble, by its celebrated doors of bronze and by its golden laminae which reflected from every side the beams of the rising sun. Jesus sees all this; and also He sees what to others is hidden; He sees the Roman legions advancing from the north, to cast a trench about that deicidal city; He sees the columns overthrown the towers hurled down, the palaces smashed to pieces, the Temple consumed by fire and reduced to such a ruin that no stone upon stone was left. He sees thousands and thousands of Jews fallen by the sword and famine; He sees the fugitives scattered abroad among all nations, and His countenance grows sad, his eyes are full of tears, and from his lips come words of touching compassion.
During the visit to the Mount of Olives, Father John De Ridder celebrates Holy Mass in the chapel erected on the very site where Jesus is said to have wept in anticipation of the ills which were to befall the city and its inhabitants.
This Roman Catholic church building (1955) has a dome in the shape of a tear drop, with phials on the corners, such as the women of antiquity used in order to catch and store their tears.
Built on the slopes of the Mount of Olives by Alexander III of Russia, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene is probably the most conspicuous house of worship in Jerusalem. It owes its prominence to the presence of seven gilded, onion-shaped domes jutting out from a monumental Muscovite-style body that stands proudly against the sky.
While the church was dedicated to Alexander's mother Maria, it was called the Church of St. Mary Magdalene after her name saint. One of the best-known women in the New Testament, it was Mary Magdalene from whose body Jesus exorcised the seven demons in Mark 16:9. Mary was present at the Crucifixion and was the first person to see Jesus after the Resurrection.
With the Golden Gate in the distance, standing on the porch of the Church of All Nations, under the six columns supporting the roof which consists of twelve small mosaïc-covered domes, the pilgrims can only compare the rather gloomy interior with the colourful façade on the outside.
In the church of All Nations, in front of the altar is the rock of the agony, surrounded by a low railing resembling the Crown of Thorns.
The garden kept by the elderly friars is a source of great pleasure for the visitors. It reminds them of a presbytery garden at home.
The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean Sea region where it has been cultivated since ancient times. Growing to heights ranging from 10 to 40 feet (3 to 12 meters), the fruit is used as food and as a source of lamp oil. In Gethsemani, very old trees are to be seen. Knaggy and hollow as they are, the tourists puzzle over them.
The Mount of Olives, so called from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed, is a mountain ridge on the east of Jerusalem, from which it is separated by the valley of Kidron. Mentioned already in connection with David's flight from Jerusalem through the rebellion of Absalom, it is frequently encountered in the New Testament. It now bears the name of Jebel et-Tur, i.e., "Mount of the Summit;" also sometimes called Jebel ez-Zeitun, i.e., "mount of Olives." It is about 200 feet above the level of the city. The road from Jerusalem to Bethany runs as of old over this mount. It was on this mount that Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. The garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew Gath-shamma=oil press) lies below on its slope.
The Hotel International occupies a choice landmark on the Mount of Olives summit. The unthinkable permission to build a hotel in such immediate proximity to Jewish burial grounds, was granted by the Arabs when the land was part of East Jerusalem in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. At sunrise, from the hotel dining-room, a splendid view of the Temple Square is obtained for the greatest delight of breakfasting guests.
In the background: on the left : Viri Galilei Church - in the center: Pater Noster Church - on the right: Chapel of the Ascension.
Emperor Theodosius I, as early as the 4th century, built a basilica over the rock on which Jesus is supposed to have prayed. In 1924, on the same spot, a modern church was erected. In front of the altar is the rock, surrounded by a low railing resembling the Crown of Thorns. The pictures of the church are gifts from several countries, hence the name Church of All Nations.
From early in the morning, the buses unload a flow of tourists coming to enjoy the sunrise on the
The Jerusalem landscape is dotted with the many Christian churches which always are an irresistible attraction for the pilgrims.
The Mount of Olives, so called from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed, is a mountain ridge on the east of