The Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem serves as a very important site to the Christianity. Gethsemane is believed to be the site where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before his crucifixion and where Jesus was captured by the Roman soldiers on the fateful night of his arrest.
Located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the valley between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane is still abundant with ancient olive trees. Research suggests that these are the same trees which stood at the time of Jesus Christ's prayers and arrest.
Literally meaning “oil press” in Aramaic and Hebrew, Gethsemane had historically been used for the manufacturing olive oil. According to the New Testament, Jesus and his Apostles had often frequented the Valley of Gethsemane for prayer, reflection and teachings, which in turn enabled Judas Iscariot to lead the Roman troops directly to Jesus for his capture.
Church of All Nations - Gethsemane Jerusalem
CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS - THE GETHSEMANE CHURCH
Overlooking Gethsemane garden, is the Gethsemane Church and Monastery also referred to as the “Basilica of Agony' and 'Church of all Nations'. Located on the bottom slopes of the Mount of Olives above the gardens of Gethsemane, the church enshrines the rock which is said to be the rock upon which Jesus prayed in agony on the night of his arrest. The church received its later name due to the different nations that contributed to the erection of the church. The ceiling of the church is comprised of 12 capes symbolizing the 11 apostles and Jesus and also carrying the seal of each nation that helped build the church. A magnificent mosaic adorns the entrance to the church depicting the story of Gethsemane. Its construction was completed in 1924 and is the third shrine that was built in the Garden of Gethsemane. Its facade is comparable to that of a Roman basilica. It is composed of a roof with a dozen of domes that carries an Eastern style but the most distinguishing characteristic of the Church is the triangular mosaic in vibrant colors located at above its facade.
If you look around, you will see the Umar Mosque nearby along with the residential houses. It is also a Church that features Mary’s icon. Her death is commemorated every August 28th and this icon is being brought to the church for 10 days.
CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS - AMBIANCE AND STORY OF GETHSEMANE
The atmosphere of Gethsemane Church and Monastery is somewhat sorrowful. Its architect Antonio Barluzzi aimed to convey the darkness and pain of the night of Jesus’ anguish in Gethsemane. Hence, the interior of the church is a little dark with the natural light coming in through the alabaster windows.The ceiling is decorated with the night sky and stars which are surrounded by the branches of the olive tree bringing to mind the Garden of Gethsemane.
At the altar, you will find a flat rock that is referred to as the “Rock of Agony. It is believed by many to be the rock where Jesus prayed on the night before he was arrested in Gethsemane in Jerusalem. You will also see a huge mosaic that is located at the three apses. These represent Judas’ Kiss, Christ's Agony and Christ's Arrest.
Mosaic Floor and Designs
During the construction of the Gethsemane Church in Jerusalem, portions of the mosaic floor dating back to the Byzantine era were revealed. These were conserved under glass and can be seen in the southern aisle floor. The 4th century Byzantine design was added to the modern Church built in 1924 to indicate spiritual continuity.
Above the Mosaic on the facade of the Church of all Nations in Gethsemane are two stages and four Evangelist statues