Monday we set out to “conquer” Jerusalem and it was a beautiful start to our days here. We went to the Mt of Olives, located in east Jerusalem, a scene filled with ancient olive trees. The Mt is known as a location for Jesus’ teachings to his students and where he wept over Jerusalem. The 3000 year old Jewish cemetery is also located here with over 150,000 graves spread across the hills. At the foot of the Mt of Olives is the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went after the Last Supper the night before his crucifixion. It was a cloudless hot day for our walks, and the sights were stunning and humbling. Some of the olive trees are said to be old enough to have been there during Jesus’ day. We all imagined that to be true!
The Church of All Nations, located at the base of the hill, was built in the 1920’s largely through gifts of the Roman Catholic Church. There are mosaics representing various stories in the Bible, including Jesus praying alone and Judas’ betrayal.
We also went to the Upper Room located above the tomb of David. This was where Jesus’ final meeting with his disciples took place and where they broke bread together in the first Christian communion.
Dormition Abbey was another stop, a beautiful church located above Mary’s possible tomb. We had a quiet moment in there and sang “Amazing Grace” together. There are conflicting views on the location of the tomb of Mary. When we were in Turkey last year, we saw her reported tomb above Ephesus. Kent said that there are valid claims for both.
All of these visits were combined with lunch at a typical Israeli restaurant overlooking the city and then back to the hotel (Leonardo Plaza). The pilgrimage continues. Good night from Jerusalem, K