All of a sudden we only have a few days left! And I’m so sad and happy all at once–we are super tired, and there really isn’t any place like home. On Friday, we decided to explore a lesser-known church, St. Peter in Gallicantu, and see the Upper Room and visit the Garden of Gethsemane again. We have learned–only five weeks in–that Friday night is a tough time to be getting transport or doing ANYTHING in Jerusalem, so we planned to be home by 2-3pm–and we actually were really close to that! Which is a Shabbat miracle, for sure.
We started out bright and early and hopped on the bus to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations.
Second-to-last tourist day (we have Shabbat tomorrow) starts out with these two lovebirds. 🙂 On the bus headed to Gethsemane just outside Herod’s Gate.
Sadly, the grotto at Gethsemane was closed for unknown reasons. Sniff.
But we were able to go inside the Church of All Nations this time, which has twelve domes for the twelve apostles. It was very beautiful inside.
There was a mass being held in the Church of All Nations, but we were still allowed inside. We tried to be very quiet and reverent. I love the ceilings! I feel like I would be totally distracted from worship in this place, it was so beautiful and detailed.
The windows were made of alabaster (calcite), cut thin enough to allow the light to shine through. The purple is “liturgical purple” to indicate royalty and mourning.
The Golden Gate, which apparently I can’t take enough pictures of.
Garden at the monastery by the Garden of Gethsemane.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we say this name ALL. THE. TIME. So we think we know exactly how to pronounce it.
Do you see the way the street is spelled? Malki Tsedek St. I didn’t even recognize it as the same name! We came across this street in trying to walk from the bus stop at City of David to the Church of St. Peter in Galicantu. I am sorry to report that Google maps walking instructions are…unreliable…in Jerusalem. (So are the driving instructions, which continually asked us to drive the wrong way on a one-way street.) We ended up at a dead end in a Muslim neighborhood where people sort of just looked at us like, “Huh?” But a sweet lady knew exactly what we were looking for–we likely aren’t the first to end up at her door–and gave us the right directions. Back up the hill, in the heat, unfortunately, but we eventually made it!
Bradley, with the al-Aqsa mosque dome in the background.
View of St Peter in Gallicantu.
I had never heard of this church before, but I’m so glad Bradley recommended we go to it. It was beautiful and fun and unexpectedly spiritual in places. And it features CHICKENS. Well, roosters, anyway.
St Peter in Gallicantu means St. Peter in cock’s crow–as in, “before the cock crows twice” Peter would deny the Christ three times.
Traditionally, this is the location of Caiaphas’ palace (Caiaphas, the high priest of Jerusalem during the time of Christ, and who presided over His trial). There are prison caves below the church that date at least to the time of Herod–perhaps the same jail referred to in 4th C CE traditions, where Christ was scourged by Caiaphas.
Ruins near the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu.
The gate into the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu. It was open when Heber and I walked in, but just three minutes later, it started to close as the rest of our crew caught up. I was so surprised! But apparently it was open to let a car drive out, and only opens when they see tourists waiting. And they didn’t see us? I don’t know, but it did start to open before squashing Grandma Ross. Whew.
I love these weird pine trees that look like a 6-year-old’s drawing brought to life. They are so cute!
My beautiful mother-in-law Eva, taking pictures at St. Peter in Gallicantu.
The Dome of the Rock, with it’s 24 K gold dome, captured the eye wherever you are in Jerusalem.
Ruins at St. Peter in Gallicantu.
“After the Supper, Jesus left the Upper Room with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley” (Note there are only 11 disciples, with Judas having left to betray the Savior.)
I fell in love with the old-fashioned tile explanatory signs. This church was built in 1931, and I’m pretty sure the signs are from them. They are charming and informative, what more could you ask?
“I do not know him” (Luke 22:57)
Middle chapel in St. Peter in Gallicantu. There is a hole in the center of the sanctuary–the railing on the right hand side of the picture–that offers a view into the caves and grottos and caverns beneath the church. There are 5th C. AD crosses carved into the walls in the caves that can be seen from the middle chapel.
Explanatory tiles, about the caves/grottos under the church.
The prison cave is mostly behind these glass windows. You can see the holes bored into the limestone that allowed the prisoners to be tied up, possibly to be whipped or scourged.
Ropes to show how the holes may have been used. The cave was quite a somber place.
Close up of one of the prison restraint holes. There was a pilgrim from the French city of Bordeaux who visited the Holy Land in 333 AD. He recorded his journeys, and is known (creatively) as the “Pilgrim of Bordeaux”. This is what he wrote about this area: “Also as you come out of Jerusalem to go up [Mount] Sion, on the left hand, below in the valley, beside the wall, is a pool which is called Siloe and has four porticoes; and there is another large pool outside. On this side one goes up Sion, and sees where the house of Caiaphas the priest was, and there still stands a column against which Christ was beaten with rods.”
Each temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints keeps what is known as a “prayer list”, where you can write names down of people who need extra prayers and faith. That prayer list is put on the altars of the temples and prayed for by the attendees of the temple.
Apparently this is not just something we do! I was fascinated by this awesome sign in the grotto/caves below the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu.
Descending to the lower caves, LaDonna and Eva.
Hebs is already at the bottom, and ready to tell the Grandmas all about what he’s discovered.
LaDonna took this picture of me from above.
And I took this picture of her from below. Hello, Momma!! I’m in a well! (Okay, not a well. But still.)
Explanation of the lower portion of the caves. I was able to find everything on this placard in the actual cave–that was pretty cool. Once again we were blessed by empty sites, and no crowds. (Though there was a Portuguese-speaking group in the grotto before us, and my Portuguese-immersion kids were excited about their sermon and song.)
The hole from the middle chapel, looking from below. Can you see the 5th C cross?
And the red oxide cross on the wall! Also 5th C, I think.
It’s a long way up–the Sacred Pit, St. Peter in Gallicantu.
Thinking about the indignities the Savior had to suffer–if not here, then somewhere nearby–was a sobering experience.
More mosaics! Seriously, why don’t we do these nowadays?
Oh. So some people DO do mosaics, at least in the 1930s when this church was built. Upper chapel, St. Peter in Gallicantu.
First glimpse into the upper chapel of the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. One of my favorite chapels of all–I don’t know why, I just loved the look and the feeling and the mosaics and the dome and…I just really liked it.
St. Matthew, St. Phillip, St. Jude (Judas the Zealot)
St Paul, St. James (the Greater? if the other James is “the Less”?), St. Thomas (one of my favs) (can you have favorite apostles?)
I went down a rabbit hole trying to figure out why St. Paul gets a place when poor St. Matthias, who was chosen to take Judas Iscariot’s place after Christ’s resurrection, gets shafted. I never did figure it out, but it’s not just here–the famous twelve apostle statues with the Christus also have St. Paul instead of Matthias. So, apparently, it’s a thing.
St. Simon, St. Bartholomew (probably the same person as Nathaniel), and St. John.
More magical mosaics. St. Andrew, St. James the Less, St. Peter. And serious-faced angels above them. Upper chapel, St. Peter in Gallicantu. The words below all the apostles say “Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The dome above in the upper chapel of St. Peter in Gallicantu. The stained glass! The mosaics! The sure incredible beauty! Wow.
Stained glass, tiles, mosaics…the Last Supper.
“One of the disciples was resting on the bosom of Jesus”
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter” Luke 22. Have you ever felt that horrible sinking feeling in your stomach, that you wish you could turn back time even just a few minutes? I can imagine Peter feeling that way.
And yet the Lord loved Peter.
“Outrages at Caiaphas” on the outside of the church of St. Peter at Gallicantu.
On a lighter note, I love the rooster insignia everywhere at this church. I totally wanted to buy a colorful T-shirt with this exact bird, but they only had children sizes in that one. Bummer!
And, naturally, a chicken on the weathervane. I love it.
I took this picture because it was a totally different perspective from Mount Zion. You can see the Dome of the Rock, the BYU Jerusalem Center, and the al-Aqsa mosque.
There is a Protestant cemetery on the slopes of Mount Zion, where several famous people are buried. One of them is Oskar Schindler, of Schindler’s List fame. Another is Horatio Spafford, of “It is Well With My Soul” hymn fame. We didn’t venture into the cemetery, what with tired Grandmas and children.
I’m collecting Old City Jerusalem gates. This is the Zion Gate. It’s all beat up because of the fighting during the 1948-9 War of Independence.
The path to the Cenacle, or Upper Room. (“Cenacle” is from the Latin “I dine”). This room is part of the same building that “David’s Tomb” is (not really David’s tomb), and is right next to Dormition Abbey–which marks the place Mary fell into eternal sleep and/or was taken up into heaven. There was another place, near the Garden of Gethsemane, that also marked Mary’s resting place.
Gorgeous stained glass window inside the Upper Room. The Cenacle building was once used as a mosque, and has a mihrab and a minaret. And these beautiful windows.
My Yummy in the Upper Room.
This sculpture of an olive tree with three branches represent the three faiths that honor Jerusalem–Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. And there is a vine and wheat stalk to represent the wine and bread of the Last Supper. It was presented to the Cenacle by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of his 2000 visit to the Holy Land.
A Crusader-era column with pelicans on the capital, holding up a later qubba (or canopic dome) from the mosque period. Upper Room.
Bell Tower of the Dormition Abbey. The Bell Tower is carefully placed so that it does not cast a shadow on either the old mosque (the Cenacle) or the “Tomb of David”, out of respect.
The main church of Dormition Abbey. From the (slippery) rock rooftop of the Cenacle building.
The old minaret.
I love the soaring vaulted ceilings of the Upper Room. It’s not clear to anyone, apparently (according to Wikipedia and Murphy-O’Connor) how old this building actually is. It’s definitely NOT old enough to be the actual Upper Room, but maybe could be built on an older building.
We were getting ready to sing a hymn, and had just started when the guard/security guy/attendant ran in and told us off for singing. There was NO ONE else around, and no signs that said we couldn’t sing–there was a sign that said that we couldn’t do any religious ceremonies, but we really didn’t think singing was considered a ceremony. The BYU students (at least when Bradley was a student 20 years ago, hahahaha) sang in here, so we were a little miffed and embarrassed. Oh well.
The moms, resting from the hot sun outside.
Zee, the hero. Seriously, we sent him on ahead to find the Cenacle, and he was amazing. Except then we didn’t wait for him, and we played tag trying to find each other because we weren’t where he was expecting us. And there was no cell coverage in this area. But he is a champ and I don’t know what we would have done without him.
Near the end of our explorations of the day–Hebs and Eva aren’t in this picture. Bradley sent Eva, LaDonna, Hebs and me home in a taxi, which–once we finally got a taxi, having our ride accepted and then dropped three times first–was marvelous and got us home so fast. The three others took the bus all the way home. Photo credit Eva Ross.
Once home, Hebs and I drove over to the supermarket to get challah bread (only baked on Fridays, for Shabbat dinner) and some other groceries (including a watermelon, naturally) (we finally bought a large knife at the end of the second week, so we could chop up the many watermelons we bought). It turned out we met the bus group at the mall, so they didn’t have to ride the bus all the way around Meseveret Zion for 20 minutes before getting to our neighborhood. Then we went home, I made dinner (baked potatoes! which aren’t as yummy for me without bacon bits and chili, oh well), and we had a lovely evening relaxing at home.