Friday, March 28, 2014

Gethsemane, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The day started with a trip to the gardens at Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, a very old Jewish cemetery, with historical significance.
Gethsemane is where Jesus allegedly prayed to his Father, the night before his crucifixion, and where Judas betrayed him.  The garden has 600-800 year old olive trees.

 The Church of All Nations is next door

It contains a slab of bedrock, where Jesus supposedly prayed/anguished that last is a pilgrimage spot for believers.

 A section of 12th century floor was found during excavation, and reproduced around it.

Our entrance to the Old City was through the Lion's Gate, which enters the Christian center.   The wall was built in the 1500s. 
As we walked up the hill, we saw many different sights, including a van, a mobile minaret, that blared the call to prayer.  When there was any sign of trouble, Israeli IDF would just appear.  Always made me feel safe. 
We followed the Stations of the Cross, along the Via Dolorosa, most of which have chapels. 

 This is where Jesus touched the wall, now a popular touching site.
We ended up at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where Jesus was crucified and entombed.

 This stone is where Jesus was anointed.
 The steps up to Golgotha, Mt. Calvary, where Christ was crucified.
While we were there, the Eastern Orthodox priests were doing benediction, with incense.  People would bend down into the area between the priests, and touch the stone where Jesus died.

 There were beautiful mosaics, the whole Church was overwhelming with altars, mosaics, floors.

 My sweet Robert, lighting a candle for my parents and sister.

There are two tombs that both claim to be where Jesus was laid to rest.  One is Greek Orthodox on one side, and Christian on the other.
 And this one is called the Syrian tomb, I don't know why, it has two tombs, which apparently is more typical of the time.

We saw so much, I'm breaking this down into sections.  We did more this day, it will be in tomorrow's blog.

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