Saturday, February 9, 2013

Our Father, Who Art in Heaven

Mount Zion today refers to the hill southwest of the Old City outside the Zion gate. This area contains some of the most important sites in Jerusalem. 

The Dormition Abbey is a Catholic church which marks the spot where the Virgin Mary fell into her 'eternal sleep' (Dormitio).  It is one of the largest and most magnificent modern churches in Jerusalem, built by the Benedictine Fathers in 1906.  Its spire, conical roof and the tower can be seen from far away and acts as a beacon to locate Mount Zion.  
Near the Dormition Abbey is the "Last Supper Room" or the "Cenacle".   This second-story room commemorates the Upper Room in which Jesus shared the last supper with his disciples.   The real site of this event is not known; however it is possible that it is nearby.  In Biblical times, this was an affluent area of the city and a wealthy Christian may have opened his home for use as the meeting place.  The present room was built in the 12th century as part of the Crusader Church.  
Many churches have existed on this site representing the Upper Room - and new churches were built over the ruins of the former.  The original building was a synagogue probably later used by Jewish Christians and possibly damaged during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  The next one was the Mount Zion church reconstructed in the 4th century.  It was also known as the Upper Church of the Apostles due to the apostles receiving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost at this location.    In the 5th century, the church was referred to as "Zion, Mother of all Churches".  It was around this time that it was identified with the site of the Last Supper since it was assumed that Pentecost and the Last Supper happened at the same place.   This Byzantine church was destroyed by fire and the Crusaders built a structure in the 12th century as part of the Church of St Mary of Zion.  The Crusader church was one of the glories of Jerusalem, but it fell into ruins after the Crusader defeat.  The site was revived and restored by Franciscans in the 14th century.  In the 15th century, the room was transformed into a mosque by the Ottomans.  Christians were not allowed to return until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.  The building is currently owned by the government of Israel, but the Franciscans have recently gained administrative control of the cenacle.  

                                                                                         
Right below the Cenacle Room is the traditional burial tomb of King David.
 In order to enter, we were divided with the men going to one side and the women moving to the other. The tomb was a large stone covered with an embroidered cloth and decorated with silver
crowns and Torah scrolls.  There were so many people that we couldn't get close at all. 

From Mount Zion, we visited the Jewish Quarter located in the southeast part of the Old City.  
This area has been recognized as the center of Jewish spiritual life for hundreds of years.  
The quarter also contained souks and interesting architecture.  
We didn't have time to visit the shops, but enjoyed walking 
through the colorful array of art, clothing and jewelry.  
We hope to come back another day for shopping! 
The doors were all so different and intriguing.  
The tiles around this door added such incredible details.
This is a residential area in the Jewish Quarter.  Most of the residents here are Orthodox
and it was interesting to observe their daily life from the coffee shop on the corner.
We stopped at The Burnt House which is a second-period home situated in the opulent
Herodian area in the Jewish Quarter.  The house was burned in the great fire that the Romans started in
Jerusalem after the Temple's destruction (70 AD.)  The most amazing item of the household
artifacts found on this site are stone weights engraved with the name 'Katros", a wealthy
priestly family that served in the Temple and are mentioned in the Jewish Talmud.
Our last stop of the day was the Church of the Pater Noster.
 (The Church of Our Father)
The Church stands on the traditional site in Jerusalem where 
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray.   
 Emperor Constantine built a church over a cave here in the 4th century.
When the Crusaders arrived, the site was associated specifically with the Lord's Prayer.
A small oratory was constructed amidst the ruins in 1106 and a church was rebuilt in 1152,
 thanks to the funds of the Bishop of Denmark, who was buried in it along with his butler.  
"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. 
When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 
'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'
He said to them, 'When you pray, say: 
Our Father which are in heaven, 
hallowed be thy name, 
Thy kingdom come, 
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven
 Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory 
For ever.....Amen."

As we stood outside the cave in the cloisters, we gathered together and recited the Lord's Prayer.  
It was  incredible to hear our voices echo through the ageless stones..... 
 The plaques in the cloister contain the Lord's Prayer in 62 different languages.

 This small church was a meaningful and peaceful site to visit.
The Pater Noster was a great way to end our interesting and FULL day in Jerusalem.  

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