Friday, August 17, 2012

Holy Land Report #6

Day #4 of our pilgrimage - today our agenda includes the Mount of Olives, Pater Noster, Holy Mass in the Garden of Gethsemane, Tomb of the Virgin Mary, Mount Zion, the House of Caiaphas, the Upper Room and the Church of the Dormition of Mary. We started at the Church of Pater Noster - Named for the "Our Father" prayer (Latin: Pater Noster), the Church of the Pater Noster stands on the traditional site in Jerusalem where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord's Prayer. Emperor Constantine built a church over a cave here in 4th century, and this has been partially reconstructed. Plaques in the cloister bear the Lord's Prayer in 62 different languages.
Church of the Pater Noster

 Paster Noster Grotto 

"Our Father" Plaques Line The Walls

From the Pater Noster we headed to the Mount of Olives. Here we met up with a man offering rides on his camel. Although there are different places to ride a camel the best place to go camel riding in Jerusalem is on the Mount of Olives.  Every morning you can normally find 12-year-old Shushi (and his owner Ali) looking for riders, right next to the panoramic view of the Holy City.  Shushi is in fact, not a camel (which has two humps) but a dromedary with one hump.  All the “camels” in the Holy Land are dromedaries. Many of our pilgrims were adventurous enough to ride Shushi starting with our Spiritual Director - Father Matt.
Father Matt

Sam & Mary

Pat & Karen 

From this viewpoint you can see the Temple Mount with the Golden Dome clearly visible. In between us and the Dome is the Kidron Valley. Jewish, Muslim and Christian burial sites are easily seen here.
Over looking the Burial Sites

We then proceeded to the Tomb of Mary - At the base of the Mount of Olives is a Crusader church said to mark the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Centered around a quarried-out tomb that may well date from the first century, the cave church is festooned with hanging lamps and highly atmospheric.
Descending To The Grotto

Tomb of Virgin Mary

After viewing the tomb and saying some prayers we headed into the Garden of Gethsemane for Holy Mass which we celebrated in the natural grotto, about 190 square meters in area, is basically unchanged from the time of Jesus. It is believed to be where the disciples slept while Jesus prayed, and where Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested. It may also be the location of Jesus’ night-time meeting with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). Over the main altar is a representation of Jesus Praying among the Apostles. The grotto is also known as the Cave of the Olive Press.
 Deacon Dale - Father Matt - Deacon Jerry
After Holy Mass we wandered in the Garden viewing the different settings and asking ourselves "is this where Jesus wept" - that rock was to be discovered next...
Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

In the Garden is another church - the Church of All Nations standing near the foot of the Mount of Olives and is built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before he was crucified. The church and the adjacent Garden of Gethsemane, with its eight ancient olive trees, provide an evocative place for meditation, especially when visited at night. The church is also known as the Basilica of the Agony. Completed in 1924, it is the third church on the site.
Church of All Nations

Inside Church of All Nations

Mount Zion, the highest point in ancient Jerusalem, is the broad hill south of the Old City’s Armenian Quarter. Also called Sion, its name in Old Testament times became projected into a metaphoric symbol for the whole city and the Promised LandSeveral important events in the early Christian Church are likely to have taken place on Mount Zion:
• The Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples • The appearance of Jesus before the high priest Caiaphas • The “falling asleep” of the Virgin Mary • The Council of Jerusalem, around AD 50, in which the early Church debated the status of converted gentiles (Acts 15:1-29)
Heading To Dormition Abbey

Happy Pilgrims Walking In Old Jerusalem

Walking to the Church of Dormition

The hill of Mount Zion, the highest point in ancient Jerusalem, is dominated by the Church of the Dormition. The location is identified in Christian tradition as the place where the Virgin Mary died — or “fell asleep”, as the name suggests. The fortress-like building, with a conical roof and four corner towers, stands south of the Old City’s Zion Gate. 

Church of the Dormition

Church of the Dormition


Life Size Statue of Virgin Mary

Our next stop on Mount Zion was the Upper Room where Jesus would have eaten the Last Supper with his disciples. 
The Upper Room

The Upper Room

Close by was the site of the Tomb of King David. This site has been undergoing renovation for quite some time - the only thing we could see was an empty coffin representing King David's Tomb - covered by plastic to protect it from construction dust. Still we were separated - men and women - as it the Jewish custom and men wearing a kippa - entered one side while the women the other. Although the tomb is empty - it is held in high regard by the Jewish people. Nearby male Jews were reading the Torah and praying.
Tomb of King David

Continuing our walking tour we headed to the House of Caiaphas where one of the most striking churches in Jerusalem commemorates the apostle Peter’s triple denial of his Master, his immediate repentance and his reconciliation with Christ after the ResurrectionBuilt on an almost sheer hillside, the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu stands on the eastern slope of Mount ZionOn its roof rises a golden rooster atop a black cross — recalling Christ’s prophesy that Peter would deny him three times “before the cock crows”. Galli-cantu means cockcrow in Latin.
Walking to House of Caiaphas on Left

Click Picture & Zoom To See Rooster On Top Of Cross


Caiaphas' House

St. Peter in Gallicantu

St Peter in Gallicantu

Inside Holding Cell Below Caiaphas House Where Jesus Was Possibly Held Overnight

Grounds Around Caiaphas House


Stone Pathway To City of David Below

Thus ended this day contemplating what Jesus experienced at this location and His time spent in the dark cold cell under the house of Caiaphas. Though without sin He became sin for us that we might have life and live it to the fullest. We owe it to Our Lord to live this life of ours with honesty and integrity.

Deacon Dale 




2 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures! So amazing to see the actual sites where the familiar bible stories took place.

    A potentially silly question: Why a tomb for Mary if she is believed to have been assumed bodily into heaven? Is it an empty tomb?

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  2. How or when Mary died is not clearly understood - not withstanding we do know that Mary ceased to exist as we understand life and death - because she is obviously no longer "among us" i.e. "dead to this world" although alive in Jesus - her existence was terminated in one manner or another - since she is no longer among us - the necessity of a tomb to commemorate that she 1) was a real person 2) a very important person i.e. the mother of Jesus 3) no longer among the "living" 4) a person to be venerated - therefore the need for an empty tomb, if nothing else.

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