Holy Land: the road begins

5:47 am – Israeli Time – 3/28/2015

It’s before dawn here and I am sitting in the lobby trying to use the next ten minutes to tell you about yesterday. At 6:30 this morning we will be going to the tomb of Jesus Christ our Lord to have Mass. That is why I am here secluded in a lobby corner while my fellow pilgrims chat and wake up around me. We will leave soon to make the walk to His tomb, but right now I need to at least tell you a little bit about yesterday.

I will do so with pictures and captions. There is just too much.

The day started with this plaque, at the church called Pater Noster, or “Our Father”, where Jesus taught us how to pray. 

This plaque is in Aramaic (Jesus’ language) and Hebrew


The Our Father was displayed in more than 100 different languages


The Our Father written in Latin


The Pater Noster Church and grounds are on the Mount of Olives

Then we walked just the first taste of the walk that the Lord walked on Palm Sunday:

Walking the walk

and saw this amazing view:

View of Jerusalem and the tombs outside the city walls

In the one above, you can see Jewish tombs in the foreground, Christian tombs in the valley, and Muslim tombs press against the old city wall, which is not the original wall but is around where the boundary of the old city wall used to be.

The very bottom corner of the wall in this picture is a portion of the old city walls

You can always tell where the city walls were by seeing where the tombs are. they did not bury their dead inside the city walls in the time of Jesus. It was unclean.

After our walk, next was a church called Dominus Flavit. This is the place where Jesus looked out over the city and wept for it. On each corner of the roof, you can see an ancient tear jar that women (and still do here) collected their tears in when they were longing to be married or missing their husband who was away at war:

Dominus Flavit

Inside Dominus Flavit you can see the view of the city through the glass behind the altar


Next, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. These are the oldest olive trees in the Holy Land. You can tell because you can see where they were cut down to just stumps 70 AD by the invading Roman army. Then after that they regrew shooting off to the sides. You can especially see it with the one on the right: 

Olive trees in Gethsemane

In this place, the garden of olive trees called Gethsemane, Jesus wept tears of blood. And he wept them in this spot. Onto this stone:

The stone where Jesus prayed overnight in Gethsemane

In front of this altar:

The altar at the church in Gethsemane

I sobbed like a baby. Because. Of course. Jesus. Come on!!

Then we ate fish. Because. fish 🙂

Fresh fish. It even had the eyes!

Next was the tomb of Mary, this is the place where we believe that she was assumed body and soul into heaven to be with her only son.

The outside of the church


Inside the upstairs of the church. (I think that couple was getting married?)

And here are my fellow pilgrims looking over a statue of her resting in the crypt of the church:

In the lower level of the church

Then we went to the Upper Room. This is where the last supper happened. You remember that. right? There are all sorts of political tensions with control of the space, and Jews actually own it. We are allowed to visit it but not celebrate mass there or sing. Which is very sad. We sang anyways:

Singing and praying in the upper room where the first Eucharist was celebrated

Next and last was St. Peter Galicantu, French for the Rooster sings. Here Peter denied Jesus three time: Outside of Caiphas’ house, where Jesus spent the night after he was arrested in this hole: 

we sang there too:


These are my feet in this place, where Jesus was imprisoned:




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