Journey Through Gethsemane

//Journey Through Gethsemane

Journey Through Gethsemane

Every year, the Franciscans of the Holy Land make a weekly Lenten pilgrimage to the shrines in Jerusalem commemorating the Passion of Jesus. 

Today, the second pilgrimage took place at Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives. 

Gethsemane includes three sanctuaries cared for by the Franciscans, referring to the events happening on the night Jesus was betrayed: the olive grove, the Grotto of Gethsemane, and the Basilica of the Agony (also called the “Church of the Nations”). Jesus prayed intensely in the olive grove before the passion, while the Grotto of Gethsemane is identified as the place where he was arrested. Commemorating the episodes that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Basilica of the Agony stands today at the foot of Mount Olives. 

The present-day Basilica, built exactly 100 years ago, in 1924, over the ruins of a former Byzantine church and a church from the Crusader era, was designed by the architect Antonio Barluzzi. It has inside it an isolated block of rock recalling where Jesus prayed on the night of his betrayal. It is also called the “Church of the Nations” because many countries contributed to its building. The coats-of-arms of these nations are represented in the domes and in the mosaics of the church.  

To better give the impression of sorrow and dejection, the interior is left in semi-darkness, due to the violet of the alabaster windows and the dark blue of the vault.  

Between the Grotto of Betrayal and the Rock of Gethsemane, there is a grove of olive trees, some of which—enclosed at the entry to the Sanctuary—come from an ancient strain, probably contemporary with Jesus. 

At the Franciscan Monastery, among the various replicas of the holy places is the Grotto of Gethsemane, which is in the lower gardens and was completed in 1916.  

2024-03-06T15:32:59-05:00March 6th, 2024|Categories: In the Holy Land|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Journey Through Gethsemane