mount of olives / Periods: Old Testament, Hellenistic, New Testament.

In israel, in the old city of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, we have one of the sacred places dearest to Christian tradition, the Gethsemane Church. Situated to the east of Via Dolorosa, and not far from some holy places as the Tomb of the Virgin, the Church of Mary Magdalene. The old and robust olive trees present in large numbers on the site confirms well the belief that it is the same olive trees that were present the day before the arrest of Jesus. This place was filmed by the team of 360HolyPlaces™ for you in Virtual Reality 360°.

What is the origin of the word “Gethsmani” ?

Gethsemane comes from the Hebrew Gat Shemen, which literally means ” press to the olive tree “, evident reference to the large natural quantity of these trees here. The area of Gethsemane occupies an important place according to the traditions, since Jesus would have spent the night before his arrest, praying in anguish: “And they came to a place called Gethsemane; And he said to his disciples, “As I pray” (Matthew).

The church, also known as the Basilica, or church of all the Nations of the Agony, is one of the most evocative sites of all Jerusalem. It was built by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi between 1919 and 1924. It corresponds to the architectural level has a mixture typical of the Christian basilica, and Islamic buildings.

Why is it also named the church of all nations?

In fact, it commemorates all the participation that has been made by many countries in its construction. The flags of the nations are represented inside the small domes which give the ensemble a distinctly oriental tone. It should be noted that on the site of the church there existed first a Byzantine church of the fourth century, which was later transformed in the time of the crusades into a basilica.

The entrance to the Gethsemane Basilica is quite impressive. To get inside the basilica, you must first go through the facade surrounded by a beautiful wrought iron fence. Going up a few stairs we arrive before four large pillars supporting a spectacular mosaic rather modern and representing Jesus between God and the human race.

Inside, the presbytery is the part of the church that attracts the most attention because a large fragment of the rock on which Jesus must have prayed the night before the Passion can be seen in front of the high altar. The rock is entirely surrounded by a crown of wrought iron thorns. In the bezel in the apse is a mosaic depicting Christ in agony being consoled by an Angel. On the coasts we have other mosaic representations of episodes in the passion of Jesus, such as the Kiss of Judas and the arrest of Jesus. We can observe on the ceilings in the shape of small domes, the various flags of the Nations which contributed to the construction of the building.

Discover this place in Virtual Reality 360° by clicking on the image below.

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Gethsemani Church (Mont of Olives)

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