Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Wonderful Christian Tour Itinerary with notes

DAY ONE Friday NOVEMBER 5 – Arrival- Nazareth and Cana
Pick up Group at Sheikh Hussein Bridge

Lunch – Village of Naim @Sahara Restaurant – Voucher

Foot of Givat Moreh - Miracle: Luke 7:11-17 - Jesus brings back to life Widow’s son
Nazareth Church of the Annunciation

Luke 1:26-38 and Matthew, 1:18-21, Luke 4:15-13 (Mt. Precious, just outside Nazareth) –walk UP the path for best view. Mt Precipice is reached by car following the signs of "Mt Precipice" on the highway that bypasses Nazareth towards Jewish Nazereth Illit.
Cana Church MASS and Wedding Vows – fixed time

John 2:1-11 (First Miracle – water to wine), John 4:46 (Second Miracle – Cure of the Nobleman’s son)

Overnight – Tiberias Royal Plaza - One of the four Jewish holy cities (along with Hebron, Jerusalem and Safed – established in 19 CE).

DAY TWO Saturday November 6 Sea of Galilee and Mt. Tabor

Wake up calls/breakfast – Remind all of modest dress

Mount of Beatitudes

Matthew 5: 1-13 – can read all the way through chapter 7.

Capernaum-Home Town of Jesus Capernaum - from Hebrew: Kefar (village) + Nachum (a name of the prophet from the old testament). Josephus, War 3.519, Matt 4:12-17 (Jesus leaves Nazareth and settles in Capernaum), Mark 1:29-31 (Cure of Simon’s mother-in-law) Matthew 9:1-8 (Cure of the Paralyzed man), Luke 4:31, Luke 4:23, Mark 2:1 (Matt 9:1), Mark 9:33, Matt 8:5, Luke 5: 12-16 (Cure of the Leper) Luke 7:1-10 (Cure of the centurion’s servant), John 4:46, Matt 11:23, Luke 10:15, John 2:12, John 6: 17, 24, 59.

Tabgha-Matthew 14:13-21

Primacy of Peter- John 2:1.

Boat Ride of Sea of Galilee – Daniel Carmel Boats

Matthew 8:23-27 (Calming of the Sea), Matthew 14:22-23 (Jesus walks on water)
Lunch - @Ein Gev
Yardenit – Optional Baptism $10 to rent robe and towel and use changing room – NO Lockers…need to safe guard valuables.

Matthew 3: 11-16
Mount Tabor – Church of the Transfiguration

Judges 4: 5-16 (Victory of Barak under order of Judge Deborah, Mark 9:2-8 (Jesus transfiguration) , Luke 9:37-43 (Jesus cures epileptic boy at village of Daburiyah – large Arab village south of Tabor)

Overnight Tiberias –Royal Plaza Hotel

DAY THREE Sunday November 7 - Jericho and Dead Sea

Wake up calls/breakfast – have guests prepare for swimming at Dead Sea – swim suits/towels/sun screen

Check out Tiberias – Royal Plaza Hotel

Jericho – need to connect with Palestinian Guide. Book of Joshua 6: 1-27 (Battle of Jericho) Luke 19:81-10, story of Zacchaeus (name means pure) the short tax collector climbing the sycamore tree to see Jesus pass.

Lunch – Jericho @ Templation
Qumran – National Park pass, wonderful shopping, get voucher for swimming at Kalya (usually only available if you have lunch at Qumran.)

Kalya- Swimming in Dead Sea – Kalya? Need Voucher or agreement from Qumran – if not eating lunch at Kalya – check with Eli Shalom or Yinon Ben Hod.
Overnight Jerusalem – Dan Panorama

DAY FOUR Monday November 8 – Jerusalem

Wake Up Calls/Breakfast – Remind Guests of modest clothes and good walking shoes with rubber grip soles- skirt and a shawl for women, no shorts for men.

Drive up via Mount Scopus to….

Mount of Olives: Acts 1: 9-12,

Ascension Chapel – Mosque and Church – Ring doorbell, entrance fee.

Luke 24:50-51

Pater Noster: Luke 11:1-4 named for the “Our Father” prayer taught to Jesus to his Disciples Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30-11:45, 3-5; closed Sunday

Use observation point just south of the stairs down to Dominus Flavit

Walk down Palm Sunday Road (Luke 19:37-40) (Note: The road is very steep and narrow, so wear good walking shoes with a good rubber grip.)

Dominus Flavit Luke 19:37-42, Chapel (Roman Catholic/Franciscan) “The Lord Wept” Architect of the Holy Land Franciscan Monk Antonio Barluzzi (1954)
Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1-2

Church of all Nations Matthew 14:32-42

Lunch - Nafoura (Christian Quarter – go inside Jaffa Gate- take first Left)
St. Peter In Gallicantu – Voucher- Matthew 26:31-35, Mark 14:30 [Gallus cantat, meaning “at the cock’s crow.”]

Room of the Last Supper:[Upper Room, Coenaculum or Coenacle] Mark 14:15, Luke 22:12, Acts 1:14 (Holy Spirit appears on Pentacost)
King David’s Tomb
Dormition Abbey
Communion at Garden Tomb (02) 627-2745 Time must be booked and confirmed. Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to noon and 14:00 to 17:30.
Overnight – Dan Panorama Hotel

DAY FIVE Tuesday November 9 – Jerusalem

Wake up Calls/Breakfast
Start at Lion’s Gate:
Walk Via Dolorosa
Church of St. Anne and Bethesda Pool (John 5:2-18- healing the paralyzed man)): Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-noon and 2-5pm (until 6pm in summer); closed Sunday

End up at Holy Sepulchre
Meet bus at Mamila
Bethlehem (Nisan Shop) Need to make connection

Lunch at Nisan in Bethlehem – MASS at Chapel of St. Jerome’s Cave (fixed time)
Ein Kerem -Church of St. John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22 and Josephus - Herod has John imprisoned for denouncing his marriage, and he is later executed.) and Church of the Visitation (Magnificat Luke 1: 46-55 – song sang by Mary when congratulated by Elizabeth, mother of John)

Overnight Dan Panorama
DAY SIX Wednesday November 10 - Departure

Check out Dan Panorama
Drive to Airport


Sheikh Hussein Bridge (Irbid-Beit Shean) -Hours of Operation of the Passenger Terminal:

Sunday to Thursday: 06:30 – 21:00 Friday and Saturday: 08:00 – 20:00. Passengers come out from building on left of parking lot – sliding door. Bathrooms, small snack bar and money charging service (reputedly bad rate of exchange.)

Church of the Annunciation: The current church is a two-story building constructed in 1969 over the site of an earlier Byzantine-era and then Crusader-era church. Inside, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary. The first shrine was probably built sometime in the middle of the 4th century, comprising an altar in the cave in which Mary had lived. A larger structure was commissioned by Emperor Constantine I, who had directed his mother, Saint Helena, to found churches commemorating important events in Jesus Christ's life. The Church of the Annunciation was founded around the same time as the Church of the Nativity (the birthplace) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb). Some version of it was known to have still been in existence around 570 AD, but it was destroyed in the 7th century after the Muslim conquest of Palestine.

Capernaum: Mathew 4:13, 18:22; Mark 1:21; - Capernaum was the center of Jesus activities in the Galilee and his town during that time. Jesus taught in the local synagogue. It was also the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew.

The town of Capernaum stretched for two-thirds of a mile along the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Its harbor for fishing boats extended for over half a mile.

Capernaum existed for more than a thousand years, from the second century B.C. until the eleventh century A.D.

Fishing was the town’s major industry. Many residents were also engaged in such supporting enterprises as tying fishing nets and repairing boats. In addition to fishing, agriculture thrived in the fertile basaltic soil of the region.

Capernaum was the major center of trade and commerce in Galilee. The international trade route from Egypt through Palestine to Syria and Mesopotamia, passed near Capernaum. Located only three miles west of the eastern border ofGalilee at the Jordan River, the town became a port of entry and customs checkpoint. A collector of customs frompassing caravans, Matthew would also collect fees for fish caught in the lake, levied by Herod Antipas who, in effect, owned the lake.

Roman military personnel were stationed at Capernaum under the command of a centurion. Recent excavations indicate that a military garrison was quartered east of the town. These mercenary troops enjoyed a complete bath installation and other excellent facilities. This would have been the residence of the centurion who built the synagogue in which Jesus taught (Matt 8:1-13; Luke 7:1-10). This garrison served Harod Antipas, the governor of Galilee, under Roman authority.

Historical and Biblical Significance
After being rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus moved with his mother and brothers to Capernaum, making it the base of His ministry (Matt 4:12-16).

A fourth century synagogue of white limestone stands in Capernaum. The foundation of this synagogue is constructed of black basaltic stone, probably dating to the first century synagogue built by the Roman centurion who was stationed in Capernaum (Luke 7:5). At the request of this centurion, and encouraged by the synagogue elders, Jesus healed the centurion’s servant.
Although Peter was born in Bethsaida (John 1:44), he lived in Capernaum. Apparently his move there was related to his marrying a woman of Capernaum (Mark 1:29-30).

Capernaum forms the southwestern corner of the "evangelical triangle" on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. It was in this region, in Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida, that Jesus performed most of His Galilean miracles. In spite of the miracles Jesus had performed there, Jesus rebuked Capernaum for its lack of repentance (Matt 11:23-24).

In Capernaum, Jesus healed the paralytic who had been lowered through the roof of the house in which Jesus had been teaching (Mark 2:1-12).

It was in Capernaum that the "Beelzebub confrontation" occurred, an event that changed the focus of Jesus’ subsequent ministry.

Tabgha- “Seven Springs” - It is the traditional site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-46) and the fourth resurrection appearance of Jesus (John 21:1-24) in Christianity. The Monk Bargil Pixner of the Dormition Abbey helped build the current Church.

Primacy of Peter – (Drive out of Tabgha, turn right, park, go down steps on right) The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, north of the Church of the Multiplication. was built on rocks at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, traditionally considered to be the place where Jesus appeared the fourth time after his resurrection (John 21:1-24), during which, according to Catholic beliefs, Jesus again conferred primacy to Simon Peter.
Jericho - Jericho is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with evidence of settlement dating back to 9000 BC – meaning of the name – RAECH (Fragrance- was major exporter of BALSAM- noted among ancient writers—Theophrastus, Strabo, Pliny—for its medicinal and highly agreeable aromatic qualities.

or YARECH (Lunar). Jericho is located 258 metres (846 ft) below sea level in an oasis in Wadi Qelt in the Jordan Valley. The nearby spring of Ein es-Sultan produces 1,000 gallons of water per minute (3.8 m3/min), irrigating some 2,500 acres (10 km2) through multiple channels and feeding into the Jordan River, 6 miles (10 km) away. Annual rainfall is 6.4 inches (160 mm), mostly concentrated between November and February.
Mt. of Olives: Acts 1, 9-12. This passage identifies the Mt of Olives as the site of ascension:

"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey".

Chapel of the Ascension, The ruins of the chapel is located in the suburb of A-Tur, on the east side of the main road of the top of Mount of Olives, at 830M above sea level. It is easily accessible, and you can park close to its entrance. Near the Ascension chapel is the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension, which is another traditional site of the ascension. It is located near a tall tower inside the village of A-Tur.The building blends the architectural features of the Crusader style with traits belonging to the Muslim tradition. The chapel rises on the site of an ancient paleo-Christian sanctuary, near the top of the Mount of Olives. The original building was surrounded by a double portico forming a circle. Destroyed by the Persians in the 614, it was rebuilt by the Crusaders in the form of a small, octagonal temple (twelfth century). Having come under the control of Muslims, to whom it has belonged since the thirteenth century, the building was converted into a mosque and completely transformed by walling in the arches and roofing over the octagon with a little dome of evident Islamic character. On a rock inside can be seen a footprint which is identified according to Christian tradition as the print that Jesus (pbuh) 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, 24: 50-51).

According to Luke, Jesus ascended to heaven near Bethany, which is identified as a village on Mount of Olive "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".

Byzantine period

The church was built here at the end of the 4th Century as a memorial chapel, marked by Constantine's mother, Helena. The Byzantine design was round (12 Meters in perimeter. Inside the structure was a a double row of columns with an open roof, laid out in two concentric circles (6M and 2M in perimeter). It existed until the 7th Centry, and was destroyed by the Persians. It then was rebuilt, and existed until the 10th Century, but destroyed again during the Arab conquest.

Crusaders period: The site was rebuilt by the Crusaders in the 12th C based on the original Byzantine design. The church was built from two concentric octagon-shaped structures - an external 12M x 12M structure, and a central 2x2M temple. It was built over the round Byzantine bases. The inner chapel was surrounded by columns and arches, which supported an open cape.

The compound had a secondary military function - one of the fortresses along the road to Jericho that protected the pilgrims.

Mamlukes and Ottoman period: In 1187 Saladin captures the city and converts it to a mosque. Since the chapel was mainly used by Christians, a second structure was built during the Ottoman period on the south side of the compound and the mosque was relocated to it. In 1835 the Crusader structure was converted to an enclosed room, by covering the cape and adding walls between the columns. The reconstruction was conducted by the Armenian Christians, who hold celebrations in this site on the eve of the feast of ascension, 40 days after Easter.

Modern times A Russian Orthodox church was built nearby in 1870, marking another site of the ascension. Archaeological excavations were conducted here by the Franciscans during 1959-1964. The present structure is based on the Crusader design, with small changes conducted after the retreat of the Crusaders at the end of the 13th Century.

To the right of the entrance is the tower of the adjacent mosque. To the left of the gate are remains of the Crusader church - a base and several layers of the wall. On the walls are a set of hooks that were used by the pilgrims to cover the yard with tents during the ascension celebrations.

Pater Noster: One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Our Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'" - Luke 11:1-4

The 4th-century Byzantine church has been partially reconstructed and provides a good sense of what the original was like. The half-restored church has the same dimensions as the original; the garden outside the three doors outlines the atrium area.

The unroofed church has steps leading down into the cave, which was partially collapsed when discovered in 1910. It is an interesting medley of ancient rock cuttings, concrete supports and marble furnishings. The cave cuts partly into a 1st-century tomb.

Left of the church's south door is an area paved with mosaics and identified as a baptistery. The 19th-century cloister is in a European style and upholds the tradition of multilingual plaques bearing the Lord's Prayer - 62 tiled panels display the prayer in 62 different languages, from Aramaic to Japanese to Scots Gaelic. The tomb of the Princesse de la Tour d'Auvergne is on the south side of the cloister.
The lane to the right of the convent's entrance leads to the Russian Church of the Ascension, established 1887. Its white tower can be seen from the Old City on a clear day. Byzantine tomb chapels with some lovely Armenian mosaics are preserved in the small museum.

Walk Down Palm Sunday Road - When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

Luke 19:37-40 NIV

Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony) The current church rests on the foundations of two earlier ones, that of a small 12th century Crusader chapel abandoned in 1345, and a 4th century Byzantine basilica, destroyed by an earthquake in 746. In 1920, during work on the foundations, a column was found two meters beneath the floor of the medieval crusader chapel. Fragments of a magnificent mosaic were also found. Following this discovery the architect immediately removed the new foundations and began excavations of the earlier church. After the remains of the Byzantine era church were fully excavated plans for the new church were altered and work continued on the current basilica from April 19, 1922 until June, 1924 when it was consecrated. Architect- Franciscan Monk Antonio Barluzzi.

Two types of stone were used in the construction of the church: the interior utilizes a stone from the quarries at Lifta, north-west of Jerusalem; and the exterior, a rose colored stone from Bethlehem.

The facade of the church is supported by a row of Corinthian columns set below a modern mosaic depicting Jesus Christ as mediator between God and man. The designer of the facade mosaic was Professor Giulio Bargellini. The bubble-domed roof, thick columns, and facade mosaic, give the church a Byzantine look architecturally.

St. Peter In Gallicantu The shrine belongs to the Augustinians of the Assumption (the Assumptionists), a Catholic religious congregation founded in France in 1845.
The Belvedere [Terrace right of the Church]

The visit of the site normally begins at the Belvedere, which offers a splendid view of the ancient City of David and its surrounding hills: Mt. Moriah, Mt. Scopus, Mt. of Olives, Mt. of Scandal, Mt. of Evil Counsel, Mt. Zion, and, on a clear day, the Mountains of Moab in Jordan. The view of the valley reminds visitors of many of the people mentioned in the Old Testament, like David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many others, and it offers a view of the Valley of Gehenna. It allows Christians to imagine the city of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and to situate many of the events mentioned in the New Testament. The Belvedere also offers an impressive view of the Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and of modern-day Silwan.

Mosaics on the 4 facades

Each of the mosaics on the four facades illustrates an aspect of what Jesus meant when he told Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin that he was the Messiah: North façade: Jesus gives Peter the keys of the Kingdom: “I will give you the keys” (Mt 16:19) East façade: Bearing his heart on his chest (typical of early 20th-century religious art), Jesus opens his arms to welcome the weary: “Come to me all you who are weary” (Mt 11:28). South façade: Jesus is lowered into a dungeon to await his religious trial before Caiaphas: “I was plunged into a deep pit” (Ps 88:7). West façade: Jesus is mocked and buffeted at Caiaphas’ (Mk 14:65).

The Church

A. Main entrance

1. Bronze doors: Front panel: After the Last Supper, Jesus foretells St. Peter’s denial, just as he and his disciples were about to leave for Gethsemane: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times” (Lk 22:34). Peter protests. Back panel: Crest with the letters A R T, signifying Adveniat Regnum Tuum (Thy Kingdom Come), the motto of the Assumptionists, the guardians of the shrine.

2. Stone lintel (over the bronze door) “May the Lord bless your coming and your going” (Ps 121). The same text, but in Greek, is found next to the church (under the pergola) in a mosaic that was once in the atrium of the crypt of the 7th-century church.

3. Byzantine mosaic (on right wall) Earth goddess Gaea (center) surrounded by various types of birds. Undoubtedly damaged by 8th-century iconoclasts, the mosaic was rediscovered in 1992 on the property of St. Peter in Gallicantu and restored by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

4. Byzantine mosaic (on the ground, beneath the Gaea mosaic) Probably part of the floor of the 5th-century church. It is in situ.

B. Upper Church

1. Large mosaic (center): In the lower portion of the mosaic, Jesus faces the high priest and the Sanhedrin during his religious trial. He has just stated that he is the Messiah and that he will come again in glory with the clouds of heaven. Caiaphas (on the right) tears his garments in anger, declaring the statement blasphemous. The Sanhedrin condemns Jesus as deserving to die. In the upper portion of the mosaic, 4 angels, carrying the cross of Jesus to his heavenly Father, ask if he deems it an acceptable sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Perplexed and disturbed, the Father ponders possible alternatives to the death of his Son before giving an affirmative answer, as suggested by St. Augustine (De Trinitate, XIII, 10 ¶ 13; De Agone Christi. XI, 12).

2. Cupola: mosaic and stained glass In the center of the stained glass window, Jesus is depicted coming in power and glory at the end of time to judge the world. As described in Mt 24:30, his sign of the cross (the stained glass window) appears in the heavens, and “his angels, blasting their trumpets, gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” The 12 apostles join him, sitting on 12 thrones for the judgment of the 12 tribes of Israel (the world) (Mt 19:28).

3. Side chapels

a. Left side:

- Mosaic: 3 repentant men: St. William, hermit; St. Dismas, the “good thief”; St. Dositheus, monk. - Icon: Jesus the Messiah: Jesus has just finished his discourse on the “Bread of Life” in the synagogue of Capernaum ((Jn 6:22-59). Most of his listeners find it too much to take and leave (group on the left). Jesus then turns to his apostles (group on the right), telling them that they too may leave if they wish. Anticipating Jesus’ eventual public affirmation before Caiaphas, Peter (holding a key) replies: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. You are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6: 68-9).

b. Right side:

Mosaic: 3 repentant women: St. Pelagia; St. Mary Magdalene; St. Mary of Egypt.

4. Transepts

Right transept (top): The Last Supper which Jesus took with his disciples the night before he died. (Bottom): St. John the Evangelist Left transept (top): Though Peter’s faith had just wavered, Jesus looked at him with compassion. This prompted Peter to remember Jesus’ prediction that he would deny him three times. Peter went out and wept bitterly. (Bottom): After sinning and repenting, Peter, wearing a tiara, strengthens the faith of his brothers. Rear transept: Mary Queen of Martyrs. Mary suffered greatly when she saw her son dying on the cross.

5. Stairway to the middle level: Byzantine mosaic

The mosaic fragment – on the left wall of the landing – was removed from the top of the rock, beneath the tiles on which one stands to view it. It was probably part of the floor on the upper level of the 5th-century church.

C. Lower Church

1. Rock formation: The middle church, whose rear wall is the very rock formation of the hillside, brings to mind the scene of Peter’s denial in the courtyard of the high priest, as well as Peter’s subsequent repentance and reconciliation.

2. Opening over the “deep pit”: An opening in the floor joins the “deep pit” below with the middle church. Since the Byzantine period, at least four churches have been built over this sacred pit. Three Byzantine crosses are engraved in the orifice.

3. Icons:

Left side: Peter’s denial: “I do not know the man” (Lk 22:57). Center: Peter’s repentance: “He went out and wept bitterly) (Lk 22:62). Right side: Peter’s reconciliation: “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). This scene, the counterpart of the triple denial, takes place after the Resurrection on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Peter affirms three times that he loves Jesus.

4. Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament (on upper right)

The bronze tabernacle in the form of a tent signifies that, in giving the Eucharist to his followers, Jesus “made his dwelling [pitched his tent] among us” (Jn 1:14). The chapel is reserved for private prayer only.

D. Underground caves

1. Grotto (guard room)

When these underground caves were rediscovered in 1889, their physical characteristics, particularly the holes pierced in the pillars and walls, their proximity to Caiaphas’ palace, and their contiguity with the Sacred Pit (deep pit), all suggested the public jail where, according to a 4th century Jerusalem tradition not recorded in the gospels, Jesus would have been scourged not only by Pilate but also by Caiaphas, and where the apostles Peter and John would have been held and scourged for preaching the name of Jesus in the temple area after the Resurrection (Acts 4:1-3; 5:17-18; 5:40). Aided by the context, Christians recall here some of the painful sufferings endured by Jesus during his Passion, regardless of where they took place, as well as by the apostles, the first believers in his name.

2. Bronze statue of the Suffering Servant

The statue portrays Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, held captive and praying for the sins of many, as he may have done in the Sacred Pit below.

3. Sacred Pit (dungeon)

On the east side, an opening, 5 steps, and a 10-foot drop beneath them, as well as different chisel marks on the top and bottom portions of the cavity’s walls, all suggest that the floor might originally have been at a higher level and have served as a mikveh (Jewish ritual bath). Subsequently, the floor would have been dug deeper in order to convert the mikveh to a cistern/dungeon. The orifice in the vault was possibly pierced at the time of the conversion, though the date of the latter remains unknown. Excavations in 1889 uncovered 3 Byzantine crosses engraved in the orifice at the top, 7 red and 4 black oxide crosses on the walls, and the silhouette of a praying figure on the lower south wall. These findings, along with the ruins of a church and a significant number of mosaics, coins and religious objects, testify to the presence of a 5th century church. Struck by the overall appearance of the pit and prompted by its proximity to Caiaphas’ palace – thought to have been located in this general area – the Byzantines insisted on constructing a church over the pit, despite the added difficulties and costs of building cliff-side, rather than choosing an easier site just a few yards higher up the hill. But what exactly did the Byzantines wish to commemorate in this holy place? Undoubtedly, an event linked to the Passion, either Jesus’ captivity as he awaited trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, or the tears of Peter as he wept bitterly.

E. Outside archaeological areas

1. Excavations behind the church

The normal exit from the church is through the door next to the bronze statue. Upon leaving the building, the tour continues to the left. One passes over the remains of what were probably the foundations of the Byzantine church. To the right, there are various cisterns, possible mikvaot (Jewish ritual baths), and what must have been an ancient mill.

2. Ancient stepped street (holy stairs)

Discovered in 1897, this ancient stepped street once linked the wealthy upper portion of the city with its poorer lower section where two of the population’s main water supplies were located: the Gihon Spring and the Pool of Siloam. It is difficult to date the street exactly because it has often been repaired over the centuries. However, it is not impossible that it existed in Jesus’ time, in which case he undoubtedly passed over it whenever he came to Jerusalem. He probably took it twice the night before he died, first, when, having left the Upper Room after the Last Supper, he crossed the Kidron Valley on his way to Gethsemane, and, second, following his arrest there, when he returned as a captive to await his religious trial before Caiaphas.

3. Courtyard on the north side of the church

Bronze monument on east side of patio: Peter denies Jesus (Luke 22:57). In the presence of a Roman soldier, 2 women question Peter as he sits next to the fire warming himself. He states that he does not know the man. The cock (on the column) is about to crow. Mosaic with Greek inscription (on the upper level under the pergola). The mosaic is a fragment from the floor in the atrium of the crypt after the church’s reconstruction in the 7th century. It lies near the spot where it was found by archaeologists. The inscription, from Psalm 121, reads: “May the Lord guard your coming and your going.” The same verse is now found in Latin on the stone lintel over the main entrance of the present upper church.

4. Model of Jerusalem in the Byzantine period (4th to 6th century)

On the hill next to the shop, a model of Jerusalem in the Byzantine period represents a glorious moment in the expansion of Christianity when, in the 4th century, the Roman persecutions had come to an end and Christians, for the first time, were able to build churches commemorating various episodes in the life of Jesus. The model reveals the relief of the city with its hills and its valleys, its streets and its gates, its basilicas and its churches. Seven major churches are represented:

1. The Basilica enclosing the tomb of Jesus. 2. The Church of Holy Sion 3. The Church of St. Mary of the Sheep Pool 4. The Church of St. John the Baptist 5. The Church of Siloam 6. The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu 7. 7. The Church of St. Mary, the Mother of God (the Nea)

The Gift Shop

The Gift Shop features handicraft from several monasteries of the Holy Land, some of which depend on the sale of this handicraft for their subsistence. It offers a variety of articles, from pottery, olive-wood carvings and hand-weave, to embroidered stoles and tableware, bronze and dolomite reproductions, statuary and icons, as well as a selection of books, postcards, maps and other souvenirs of the Holy Land, all at reasonable prices. A coffee shop offers light refreshments. Clean restrooms as well as an elevator to take the handicapped down to the upper level of the church are also available.

Room of the Last Supper [Upper Room or Coenculum] This place, sacred in Christian tradition, is believed to be the site of the Last Supper where Christ established the rite of the Eucharist. In the same place, seven weeks later, the Holy Ghost appeared to Mary and the Apostles at the Pentecost. The ceiling of the Upper Room is supported by three pillars which divide the room into three naves. With implicit reference to the Last Supper, a delicate Crusader capital (SW corner) reflects the belief that the pelican, if unable to find food for her young, will offer them flesh from her breast.

David’s Tomb

The site was apparently not viewed as David's Tomb until the 12th century. According to Benjamin of Tudela, writing about 1173,

Dormtion Abbey or Hagia Maria Sion Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Jerusalem on Mt. Zion just outside the walls of the Old City near the Zion Gate. It was formerly known as the Abbey of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, but the name was changed in 1998 in reference to the church of Hagia Sion that formerly stood on this spot.

The property was acquired by the German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II and given to the German Holy Land Society (Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Land) for the benefit of German Catholics. This is a German Benedictine monastery on Mt. Zion. In 1906, the first group of monks arrived; in 1910, the church was consecrated.

Church of St. Anne and Bethesda Pool -The Church of St. Anne (Roman Catholic) is a beautiful 12th-century Crusader church, erected over the traditional site of the birthplace of Anne (Hannah), the mother of Mary. It is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture.

St. Anne's Church was built between 1131 and 1138 to replace a previous Byzantine church. Shortly after its construction, it was enlarged by moving the facade forward by several meters.

In 1192, Saladin turned the church into a Muslim theological school, which is commemorated in an inscription above the church's entrance. Eventually abandoned, the church fell into ruin until the Ottomans donated it to France in 1856. It was subsequently restored, but most of what remains today is original. The Church is run by the White Fathers' community who arrived in the Holy Land in 1876.

The church is right next to the Bethesda Pool, believed to be the site where Jesus healed a paralytic (John 5:1-15). Here you can see ruins of a Roman temple to the god of medicine and remains of a Byzantine church built over the temple.

As the church is just a few hundred feet east of the Sanctuaries of the Flagellation and the Condemnation, at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, you might want to visit it before following the stations of the cross.

Saint Anne's acoustics, designed for Gregorian chant, are so perfect that the church is virtually a musical instrument to be played by the human voice. Pilgrim groups come to sing in the church throughout the day, and you, too, are welcome to prepare a song of any religion--only religious songs are permitted. The church's acoustics are most amazing when used by a soprano or a tenor solo voice.

St. Anne's Church is located in the Muslim Quarter, near the Lion's Gate. Enter through a wooden doorway leading to a hidden garden enclave.

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